Debt Could Doom South Street Seaport Developer

A debt load of $27 billion could doom General Growth Properties, the mall-making conglomerate that’s redeveloping the South Street Seaport and leading the development of a large East Harlem project. According to the Wall Street Journal this morning, General Growth’s failure to refinance or to extend $1 billion in debt due this month could throw into “substantial doubt” its ability to continue operations.

Among other debt coming due, General Growth owes by Nov. 28 $900 million on two luxury malls in Las Vegas. It’s trying to sell both, plus a third on the Strip. It also has $50 million in bonds coming due by Dec. 1. And it risks being delisted from the New York Stock Exchange because of a consistently low share price.

It’s not yet clear how this all affects General Growth’s Manhattan projects.

Its redevelopment of the South Street Seaport puts the emphasis on more open space, new retail and a boutique hotel. Also, in early October, the Bloomberg administration selected General Growth to lead a team to construct a 1.7 million-square-foot, mixed-use complex on East 125th Street.