General Growth Properties Inc. is a real estate investment trust that owns or operates about 200 shopping malls in 44 U.S. states. The Chicago-based company also owns master-planned communities in three states, including Summerlin in Nevada, The Woodlands and Bridgeland in Texas, and Columbia in Maryland. The 2004 acquisition of The Rouse Co. added 37 regional shopping malls, four community centers, and six mixed-use projects totaling 40 million square feet. Among its properties is Boston's historic festival marketplace Faneuil Hall.
General Growth Properties filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 2009 after struggling with its debt. The company listed $29.5 billion in total assets and $27.3 billion of debts in its bankruptcy petition, making it the largest real-estate bankruptcy in U.S. history. Several senior officers left the company after the filing.
The company is battling a hostile takeover by REIT rival Simon Property Group Inc. General Growth is seeking to take on Brookfield Asset Management Inc. as an investor and spinoff troubled assets, such as New York City's South Street Seaport, into a smaller, higher-risk company named General Growth Opportunities. Meantime, another REIT, the Westfield Group, an Australian mall operators, has also lined up as a suitor.