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by Kathryn Lynch-Morin

When the doors open each day at the Midland, Fashion Square and Bay City malls, there’s a tension behind the daily routine for the companies that own them.

In the poor economy, two of the three Great Lakes Bay Region retail centers have lost bookstores, clothing shops, jewelry stores and other retailers that make up the shopping experience at each mall. And, as spending by consumers contracts and people leave the area, the malls find themselves competing with each other to attract shoppers.

The Bay City Mall recently was named to a list of non-or low-income producing properties by its corporate parent, General Growth Properties, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in April.

Chicago-based General Growth is considering plans to spin-off the Bay City Mall and 11 other troubled malls under a new company called General Growth Opportunities. Those malls could be sold to a new owner.

“GGO would consist of non-core assets that have great value and tremendous potential, like Bay City Mall,” said David Keating, a spokesman for General Growth. “I don’t see a scenario where Bay City Mall would close.”

The Bay City Mall’s situation isn’t unique.

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