GGP Set to Emerge from Bankruptcy; Columbia Set to Move Forward
Jim Rouse, on the early days of Columbia: “One day I got a call from one of the members of our board who was a banker on Wall Street. He said, ‘Are you in trouble in Columbia?’ I said, ‘Why, sure, we’re in trouble, we’re always in trouble. What trouble is it that Wall Street is aware of?'”
Today, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Allan Gropper approved General Growth Properties’ reorganization, clearing it to emerge from bankruptcy sometime in the next couple of weeks. The date we keep seeing is November 8, but it’s not set in stone.
GGP shareholders receive full recovery – rare in these cases. A lawyer for the stockholders said, “This is a very happy day. It reflects a spectacular and quite brilliant result. … The management of the company and the board have done an absolutely superb job.” (How often do you hear something like that in a bankruptcy case…?)
The reorganization plan splits GGP into two companies. GGP itself remains the second-largest mall owner/operator in the country, while the smaller of the two companies will specialize in redevelopment and master planned communities like ours. The Las Vegas-based Howard Hughes Corporation (THHC) is chaired by William (Bill) A. Ackman and also includes the South Street Seaport in Manhattan and Summerlin in Las Vegas.
Maybe we’re biased, but we think Columbia brings something special to the THHC portfolio. The dream of Columbia – a planned community with an emphasis on socio-economic and racial diversity – was so unprecedented, so bold, 43 years ago, that it still amazes us that Jim Rouse was able to pull off what he did. That rich and unique tradition of the very best community planning carries on today with the approaching comprehensive Smart Growth redevelopment of our downtown.
Let’s get to it!