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CHICAGO-General Growth Properties has tried for months to refinance its loans, but the mall owner’s management has finally decided to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The filing affects properties owned by the company but does not impact its third-party-management business and some centers owned in joint ventures.

Of the 158 regional centers included in the filing, some high-profile properties stick out, such as Ala Moana Center, in Honolulu; Faneuil Hall Marketplace, in Boston; and the Grand Canal Shoppes at the Venetian and Fashion Show Mall, both on the Las Vegas Strip. Of the about 60 properties that aren’t part of the filing, some big-name centers are Water Tower Place, in Chicago; Oakbrook Center, in Oak Brook, IL; and Glendale [CA] Galleria.

General Growth was still in talks with lenders as of earlier this month. At that time, the company had $1.12 billion in overdue debt.

Pershing Square Capital Management, a firm headed by William Ackman that has invested heavily in Target Corp. and Borders Group and was said to have a 20% stake in General Growth late last year, is providing the REIT a $375-million debtor-in-possession facility, pending bankruptcy court approval. General Growth.

“We believe that Chapter 11 is the best process for restructuring maturing mortgage loans, reducing the company’s corporate debt, and establishing a sustainable, long-term capital structure for the company,” said Adam Metz, General Growth’s chief executive officer, in a statement. “While we have worked tirelessly in the past several months to address our maturing debts, the collapse of the credit markets has made it impossible for us to refinance maturing debt outside of Chapter 11.”

Check GlobeSt.com later today for updates on this story.

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