By Eric Jackson
A year ago, no one wanted to be in the business of running malls. Consumers were in a bunker mentality, dimming the prospects for retailers. Traffic to malls was plummeting. The mall owners were stuck with commercial real estate that was dropping in value from its highs in 2007, and mountains of debt had to be rolled over at some point in the future.
It was this terrible macro environment, plus a coming liquidity crunch, that drove high-end mall operator General Growth into bankruptcy last April. This was a still-solvent company that couldn't roll over its debt.