"They have much too much debt for their cash flow. And quite a few of their properties are underwater," said Reggie Middleton, a Brooklyn, N.Y., investor who has published in-depth analyses of General Growth Properties on his Web site, Boombustblog.com. "If they do pay it off by some act of God, they still have 2009, 2010 and 2011."
General Growth officials rejected multiple interview requests.
Financing shortfalls are an unfamiliar scenario for General Growth, a company that used the economic boom of recent years to leverage its way to become the second-largest real estate investment trust in the country.
The buying binge culminated in 2004 when General Growth bought the Rouse Co., for about $14 billion, which gave it control of Fashion Show and the Summerlin Centre project. The Rouse deal also included Boston's Faneuil Hall Marketplace, South Street Seaport in Lower Manhattan and Baltimore's Inner Harbor.