General Growth gets an extension

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The Charlotte Business Journal is reporting that General Growth Properties Inc, the Chicago based company which was partnering with Childress Klein to bring the Bridges of Mint Hill mall to this area, has received an extension to pay some of its debt through March 15.

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Mint Hill mall developer gets 2 week loan reprieve

General Growth Properties inc, who is partnering with Childress Klein properties in building the Bridges at Mint Hill, has gotten a two week reprieve to pay a $900 million dept for two malls in Las Vegas. General Growth warned several weeks ago it may have to file for bankruptcy if it can’t meet its debt obligations. The most recent move will help it gain some time to pay off a “mountain of debt” obligations coming in the next year. Last month, GGP fired its chief executive, president and chief financial officer. Childress Klein has said to Mint Hill town commissioner Lloyd Austin they are willing and able to go it alone in building the mall in Mint Hill if they have to.

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The real reason Bridges halted construction?

Retail Traffic Magazine has an interesting story about the slow down in shopping center development. As you might have guessed, it has more to do with the slow down in the economy and less about offsite-onsite issues, which is what General Growth Properties is saying about their Bridges at Mint Hill project. From Retail Traffic:

Consumers are checking discretionary spending and, seemingly everyday, new retailers come out with announcements that they are filing for bankruptcy, shuttering stores and constraining expansion plans. As a result, construction is coming to a screeching halt at projects across the country as developers reevaluate proposed centers’ economic viability.

Most recently, site work of the planned 215-acre open-air center, Bridges at Mint Hill in Charlotte, N.C., came to a halt. Chicago-based General Growth Properties and local partner Childress Klein Properties originally announced plans for the center in June 2005. It was slated to open in 2007. A series of delays pushed projected completion back to 2009. As for now, no new timeline has been announced.

General Growth announces second quarter earnings after the market closes today, so that should be a good indicator of the financial state of the company.

**Update: General Growth reported an increase in earnings for the second quarter. The company seems strong, so maybe this halt in construction of the Bridges is just that: a halt. Mayor Ted Biggers and Town Manager Brian Welch seem confident mall construction will pick back up in the new year. So far, there’s no reason to doubt that.

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It’s not just MH’s mall that’s stalled

General Growth said to Mayor Ted Biggers and Town Manager Brian Welch the Bridges at Mint Hill is being delayed so offsite work can catch up with onsite work. Apparently, Mint Hill is not the only town where General Growth has stalled a mall project. Elk Grove Promenade is “on hold,” according to the Elk Grove Citizen newspaper in California. Rumor is that General Growth has also put the breaks on a billion dollar project in Las Vegas.

General Growth releases its second quarter earnings tomorrow after the market closes. We should know more by then.

Read more in Thursday’s Mint Hill Times.

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Doubts about mall project moving forward

General Growth claims the off-site and on-site work were not in sync, and that grading was going too fast. Urban Planet forum posters express doubt about the reasons given for the halt of Bridges at Mint Hill construction at Lawyers Road and I-485. The poster says:

That’s an interesting excuse and it’s rubbish. It’s no doubt due to the economy and the fact that General Growth, the developer, is having major issues in these seized up capital markets trying to get refinancing on its $billions of debt maturing over the next two years. Being that the company is now devoting full attention to its existing stabilized portfolio of malls, I predict this project will be on hold until 2010 at the earliest or may just outright die.

Mall developers told Town Manager Brian Welch construction will begin again at the first of the year. Stay tuned…

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Bridges at Mint Hill update

The Bridges at Mint Hill halted grading yesterday, but no worries. Town Manager Brian Welch met with mall officials Wednesday night and they told him the onsite work got ahead of the offsite work. Work at the construction site will begin again sometime at the beginning of next year. Welch also said the mall officials told him they are still 100% committed to building the mall.

More on the mall in the July 31 edition of the Mint Hill Times.

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