It really rankles me when I hear people refer to General Growth Properties as a bankrupt developer as if that somehow makes them evil. Yes, the company sought protection of the bankruptcy courts when they were unable to refinance their debt. What is important to understand is that they are not asking anyone to forgive that debt. They are only working to extend the terms.
Bridget Mugane, speaking on behalf of the Howard County Citizens Association has repeatedly disparaged the company in public hearings and in the press. In this story by Sarah Breitenbach in the Howard County Times she called GGP a “folks who have no loyalty here, they're hard-nosed business people."
I take issue with this because I feel that Columbia and Howard County actually owe a debt of gratitude to GGP. Before they came along Columbia’s Town Center was being developed in a piecemeal fashion, one parcel at a time. There was no cohesion and no master plan. General Growth has breathed new life into Columbia.
They paid a high price for that privilege too. It was largely the debt that they incurred when they bought The Rouse Company that pushed them into bankruptcy. The founders of the company, the Bucksbaum family, lost control of the company and a good deal of their personal fortune.
No loyalty here?
I don’t think so Bridget. They have more at stake in this community than you do.
You can read this month’s column here.