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EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ-Troubled retail-REIT Mills Corp. has filed a document with the SEC stating that its Meadowlands Xanadu project here will cost $2 billion to construct, $500 million more than it had previously reported. The company, which has been exploring a sale after heavy losses and accounting flaws, had announced last month that it was looking for a joint-venture partner on the two-million-sf retail-entertainment project.

Mills has not obtained construction financing for Meadowlands Xanadu, and management says the funds are not likely to come in unless it is able to execute “significant remaining leasing activity,” according to the filing. Last month Mills management told the New Jersey Sports & Exposition Authority, the agency that owns the site, that it were close to signing 800,000 sf of leases for the project.

If financing for the project is not obtained, Mills is required to provide the financing itself, which could lead to a write down on the development. So far, Mills has spent $380 million on Meadowlands Xanadu.

“In our view, Mills should cease construction at the Meadowlands and write off the equity,” says a Bank Of America analyst report, which assumes that the firm will take a write off on the full $380 million they have spent so far. The best-case scenario would be for Mills to find a buyer for the development, the report says, but given rising construction costs in the industry, “Mills would need to give away its investment for the project to make sense economically to a potential buyer.”

If that situation doesn’t work, Bank of America says that Mills would have to seek recapitalization in order to pay a $2.2-billion long-term loan it previously received from Goldman Sachs that is due by the end of the year. That could lead to an investor eventually coming in and taking control of the entire firm, the report says.

In June, Mills, the owner of 42 centers in North America and Europe, announced that it had received “interest from a variety of parties” in acquiring the company. Most recently management said that it has started work on the construction of the 265,000-sf retail portion of 108 North State St., a mixed-use development in Chicago.

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