NorthTown, Spokane Valley Malls' operator files for bankruptcy protection - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

NorthTown, Spokane Valley Malls' operator files for bankruptcy protection

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SPOKANE, Wash. - The nation's second-largest mall operator, now headed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, owns seven malls in Washington.

The move comes after General Growth Properties says it failed to persuade a majority of its debt holders to give it more time to refinance billions of dollars in debt racked up during the housing boom. Efforts to negotiate with its unsecured and secured creditors ultimately fell short late last month.

General Growth said it intends to reorganize with the aim of cutting its corporate debt and extending the terms of its mortgage maturities. It also said it will continue operating all of its shopping centers during the bankruptcy process.

General Growth Properties of Chicago says the restructuring "will be invisible" to shoppers at its more than 200 malls in 44 states.

In Washington, those are Westlake in Seattle, Alderwood at Lynnwood, Bellis Fair at Bellingham, SouthShore in Aberdeen, Three Rivers in Kelso, and NorthTown and Spokane Valley in Spokane.

Most shop owners at NorthTown say they are seeing a sharp decline in the number of shoppers passing through their stores, though the speciality shops, are seeing an increase.

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