Four Bay Area shopping centers that were engulfed in bankruptcy have emerged from their financial quagmire, although their primary owner, General Growth Properties, is still in bankruptcy.
Southland Mall in Hayward, NewPark Mall in Newark, Eastridge Shopping Center in San Jose and West Valley Mall in Tracy have been extricated from bankruptcy, General Growth said.
General Growth said 194 malls, office complexes and other properties owned and operated by General Growth have emerged from individual bankruptcy filings, the company said on its Web site.
A fifth area mall, Stonestown Galleria in San Francisco, stayed in bankruptcy.
"It's encouraging that NewPark Mall is out of bankruptcy," said Terrance Grindall, Newark's city community development director. "We knew NewPark is operating in the black. It was just saddled with a lot of debt from General Growth."
The malls ended their bankruptcies around March 4, according to information General Growth posted on its Web site. General Growth itself remains in bankruptcy.
"It's wonderful that Southland is no longer in bankruptcy," Hayward City Councilwoman Anna May said.
Chicago-based General Growth didn't respond to requests to discuss the matter.
When General Growth toppled into bankruptcy in April 2009, dozens of General Growth-controlled partnerships that owned the company's malls also filed for bankruptcy. That included Southland, NewPark, Eastridge, West Valley and Stonestown.
All told, 11 malls in California emerged from their bankruptcy cases, according to information from General Growth.
The nearly 200 properties that emerged from their respective bankruptcies were financed with a collective $10.25 billion in mortgages.
The maturity dates of the loans were extended until at least January 2014 under the deals with the mall creditors. The interest rates for the mortgages remained the same, General Growth said.
The end of the bankruptcies could bolster the fortunes of the malls that have concluded their cases.
Mall operators may be better-positioned to initiate physical upgrades at retail centers such as Southland, NewPark and Eastridge, property experts said.
"Southland, NewPark and Eastridge could benefit from an upgrade," said David Buchholz, senior vice president with commercial realty firm Colliers International.
Newark officials recalled plans for a major face lift that General Growth proposed, then scuttled.
"We had really high hopes for a redevelopment of NewPark Mall," Newark's city manager, John Becker, said. "We held a groundbreaking for a new movie theater at the mall. There were plans for restaurants and improvements in the shopping area."
Those plans were put in hold when General Growth decided to halt new investments and review all of the company's properties.
"Then General Growth filed for bankruptcy," Becker said.
Hayward officials said a vibrant Southland Mall is one of the keys for a robust economy in their community. Councilwoman May cited a city-commissioned study that showed Hayward could attract plenty of high-flying stores if its shopping centers are attractive and appealing.
"We have a lot of retail leakage from Hayward that we are losing to other cities," May said. "It's just a matter of having the right retailers."
Southland, NewPark, Eastridge and West Valley are in good shape to be strong retail hubs, now that their debts are restructured.
"The malls are solid investments that did well on their own," Buchholz said. "The problem was the debt of the parent company. These malls have good locations. They are good assets."
Contact George Avalos at 925-977-8477.