General Growth Properties has completed the spin-off of 30 shopping malls into a publicly traded real estate investment trust called Rouse Properties, the Chicago-based company announced.

The properties in question are scattered across 19 states and are located in either small U.S. cities or in what are viewed as second-tier centers in larger cities, according to Bloomberg. The transaction, which was approved by General Growth’s board in December, allows the company to focus on managing properties with higher rents and tenant sales as it continues to pay down debt, Bloomberg reports.

In 2009, General Growth filed restructuring plans for itself and most of its subsidiaries to exit bankruptcy. The company filed for Chapter 11 protection in April of that year with almost $27 billion in debt. It exited bankruptcy in November 2010.

It was General Growth’s 2004 purchase of Columbia, Maryland–based Rouse Company for $7.2 billion that helped fuel its financial problems. General Growth took on debt to pay for that acquisition, then was unable to refinance that debt once the recession hit, according to the Baltimore Business Journal. General Growth is the second-largest U.S. mall operator behind Simon Property Group. 

Content for this post was provided by Daniel A. Sasse, partner in the Orange County office of Crowell & Moring.