The credit crunch has certainly slowed things down for the retail real estate industry as evidenced by a drop in deal flow and the scaling back of some announced developments. But this week the situation transformed from an inconvenience to a major threat. Suddenly, one of the largest owners of shopping centers in the United States, Australia-based Centro Properties Trust, is on the verge of collapse unless it can pay down or refinance $3.4 billion in debt by February 15, 2008....

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