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CHICAGO-General Growth Properties has gained a little breathing room. The REIT was given an extension by seven lenders on its $900-million loan on two Las Vegas malls, Fashion Show and Palazzo, until Feb. 12.

The news follows the closing of $896 million in loans last Friday on other properties, but there was some speculation that Citigroup would not allow an extension, also due last Friday, on the two Vegas malls after that deadline came and went. Chapter 11 bankruptcy was said to be the next step had the refinancing not taken place.

In a separate deal, lenders for a 2006 credit agreement extended the company’s deadline until Jan. 30.

General Growth now has nearly two months to sell some assets to pay off the $900 million, which is still a challenge in this tough economy. Executives have said they are looking to sell Fashion Show, Palazzo and its other Vegas Strip property, the Grand Canal Shoppes.

Additionally, GlobeSt.com exclusively reported earlier this month that General Growth is marketing a 650-acre industrial R&D campus in West Windsor, NJ; that was slated to become a mixed-use project. General Growth inherited that site after its purchase of the Rouse Co., in 2004.

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