An article in the Wall Street Journal (via Reuters) reports that General Growth Properties is looking at placing some of its marquee malls in joint-venture deals to pay off the REIT’s $18.7 billion of debt.High-end assets that the company owns outright, such as Fashion Show Mall and the Grand Canal Shoppes in Las Vegas and Ala Moana Center in Honolulu, could end up as candidates, the article says. Bernie Friedbaum, General Growth’s CFO is quoted saying that the firm is approaching life-insurance companies and pension funds. High-end malls still seem to be performing well, as of many mall REITs’ latest quarterly reports. General Growth’s portfolio occupancy increased last year, albeit slight, to 93.8% to 93.6%. Simon Property Group, the largest US mall owner, posted strong results during its most recent quarter.For years we’ve heard that lifestyle centers and other property types would eclipse malls, but the latter developments have held on, and some of them have thrived. Do you see investor interest in malls waning because of lagging retail sales and problems in the economy, or will General Growth find the investors it is looking for based on the strength of its properties?

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