What's next General Growth typically opens at least one project each year. Stonebriar follows on the heels of another successful General Growth project, the 1.2 million sq. ft. River Town Crossings in Grandville, Mich. River Town opened in 1999 100% leased and 96% occupied. " Stonebriar continues a trend we see in this industry that the retail business is very, very good and retailers remain very active," Michaels says.

General Growth has four projects currently in the works including locations in Miami, Ohio, West Des Moines, Iowa, North Forth Worth, Texas and South Sacramento, Calif. All of the projects are over 1 million sq. ft. in GLA.

The Miami, Ohio project features four department stores, a 400,000 sq. ft. mall, 200,000 sq. ft. of big box space, a major theater and an ice rink. The project is under construction and slated for a fall 2002 opening. The West Des Moines project will feature more than 1 million sq. ft. of retail and entertainment, including four to five department store anchors. The mall is expected to open in 2002. "I think we've committed to new development, and committed to creating new development that is genuinely on the cutting edge," Howard says.

The Circle T Ranch is a joint venture project planned for the North Fort Worth area. The mall will be a component in a large, mixed-use project that also includes residential and commercial development. The Circle T will span approximately 1.3 million sq. ft., and it is tentatively scheduled for a 2003 opening. General Growth also is in the planning stages for a new mall in South Sacramento, Calif. The mall has yet to break ground, but a 2003 opening is planned.

"All of the malls will be unique, but the emphasis in Toledo and West Des Moines will be on sporting goods, big box and entertainment," Batesole says. "Shopping today is more than buying merchandise. It's entertainment, and it's an enjoyable experience, and that's what we're trying to create in these new projects."

General Growth continues to keep a close watch on other rapidly growing markets. California, Texas and Florida are the three tremendous growth areas, but there are some other pockets such as Phoenix and Las Vegas that present growth opportunities," Batesole notes. "There are development opportunities out there, although there are fewer than there used to be," he says. "I think we have to develop smarter, and we have to emphasize that we're blending our projects into the new millennium."