Buildings Who's Who - General Growth Properties, Inc., Chicago

Aug. 7, 2001
"We have consistently managed and maintained profitability throughout periods of economic weakness,"

After a "tepid" holiday season, the company - which owns interests in and/or manages 146 shopping malls in 39 states, comprising over 116 million square feet of retail space - announced a 10-percent increase in funds from operations for the year 2000.

For the first quarter of this year, funds from operations were up 7 percent to $77 million, from $72 million in first-quarter 2000. "We have consistently managed and maintained profitability throughout periods of economic weakness," says John Bucksbaum, CEO of General Growth Properties (GGP). "I am confident that we will continue to grow as expected, and I am excited about our future going forward."

In an effort to keep tenants interested and intact, the company has turned to technology, adding some clicks to its traditional bricks-and-mortar portfolio.

In August 2000, General Growth rolled out its "Mallibu" retail convergence strategy. Company officials teamed with IBM to create interactive media stations physically located within General Growth shopping centers nationwide. IBM applied its MerchantReach family of solutions and kiosk expertise to design and build an interactive media station for the mall environment. MallibuDirect was born.

The new kiosks allow local shoppers to access web-enabled GGP tenants without leaving the mall. MallibuDirect provides online retailers and service companies with a new cost-effective and secure vehicle to market their stores and products through an interactive media station located in GGP's physical malls.

Using the new system, GGP mall shoppers can readily connect to unique online shopping and services sites, research online retailers, find the latest digital promotions and contests, and conduct online shopping. They also may view mall store directories and in-mall store sales information.

The company since has rolled out, a fully interactive, online shopping center destination that links brick-and-mortar retailers in GGP malls to shoppers all over the Internet.

In March, the company joined forces with Skytron Corp. to install the Irvine, CA-based company's Skytron Mall Television Network programming in more than 100 its shopping centers. The network will entertain and inform shoppers with video programming combined with product and promotional information delivered on proprietary 4- by 7-foot, three-sided HDTV screens suspended in the mall food areas.

Programming is tailored to the interests of mall shoppers and includes such segments as music, entertainment, fashion, travel, lifestyle topics, and features from the pages of Elle, Car and Driver, and other Hachette Filipacchi Magazines.

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