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Mall owner files for bankruptcy; Utah malls to be affected



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SALT LAKE CITY -- The nation's second-largest mall owner General Growth Properties filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy on Thursday. The company owns several malls in Utah.

With the filing, the company says it hopes to restructure and refinance debt. "Our restructuring efforts will be invisible to the tens of thousands of customers who visit our properties every day," said company President and COO Tom Nolan.

However, officials in cities with malls owned by GGP have been told some underperforming strip malls will be closed. They haven't been named yet, but Murray City officials have been told some are in Utah.

That begs another big question: What will happen at the Cottonwood Mall? It's one of six malls owned by GGP, and plans to build a high-end mixed use development on the mall site have been in the works for years.

GGP also owns the Cache Valley, Newgate, Fashion Place, Provo Towne Center and Red Cliffs malls. While our calls to the company were not returned, they have issued a press release on their Web site stating those shopping centers will remain open. [Click here to read the entire press release from GGP]

As for the Cottonwood Mall, the city of Holladay says they've been told development will go ahead, and they're hopeful that really will happen.

"Here's 58 acres, probably one of the most prime pieces of real estate in the state of Utah, and the driving economic force in the city of Holladay. And so it is extraordinary, and that's why we think something extraordinary will take place there, because it's so unique," said Holladay Mayor Dennis Webb.

There are also changes at Fashion Place Mall. Murray City Mayor Dan Snarr says contractors have temporarily been pulled off construction on the south side, and demolition of the old Nordstrom has been delayed due to Thursday's announcement.

Snarr says he's not too concerned by the Chapter 11 filing. He believes this will give General Growth Properties a chance to work with creditors rather than liquidate.

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Story compiled with contributions from Sarah Dallof and Paul Nelson.

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