RISKS RELATED TO OUR ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURE
Certain individuals have substantial influence over the management of both us and the Operating Partnership, which may create conflicts of interest.
Under the limited partnership agreement of the Operating Partnership, we, as the sole general partner, are responsible for the management of the Operating Partnership's business and affairs. Two of the principals of the Operating Partnership serve as our executive officers and as members of our board of directors. Accordingly, these principals have substantial influence over our management and the management of the Operating Partnership. As a result, certain decisions concerning our operations or other matters affecting us may present conflicts of interest for these individuals.
Outside partners in Joint Venture Centers result in additional risks to our stockholders.
We own partial interests in property partnerships that own 25 Joint Venture Centers as well as several development sites. We may acquire partial interests in additional properties through joint venture arrangements. Investments in Joint Venture Centers involve risks different from those of investments in Wholly Owned Centers.
We have fiduciary responsibilities to our joint venture partners that could affect decisions concerning the Joint Venture Centers. Our partners in certain Joint Venture Centers (notwithstanding our majority legal ownership) share control of major decisions relating to the Joint Venture Centers, including decisions with respect to sales, refinancings and the timing and amount of additional capital contributions, as well as decisions that could have an adverse impact on us.
In addition, we may lose our management and other rights relating to the Joint Venture Centers if:
we fail to contribute our share of additional capital needed by the property partnerships; or
we default under a partnership agreement for a property partnership or other agreements relating to the property partnerships or the Joint Venture Centers.
Furthermore, the bankruptcy of one of the other investors in our Joint Venture Centers could materially and adversely affect the respective property or properties. Pursuant to the bankruptcy code, we could be precluded from taking some actions affecting the estate of the other investor without prior court approval which would, in most cases, entail prior notice to other parties and a hearing. At a minimum, the requirement to obtain court approval may delay the actions we would or might want to take. If the relevant joint venture through which we have invested in a Joint Venture Center has incurred recourse obligations, the discharge in bankruptcy of one of the other investors might result in our ultimate liability for a greater portion of those obligations than would otherwise be required.
Our legal ownership interest in a joint venture vehicle may, at times, not equal our economic interest in the entity because of various provisions in certain joint venture agreements regarding distributions of cash flow based on capital account balances, allocations of profits and losses and payments of preferred returns. As a result, our actual economic interest (as distinct from our legal ownership interest) in certain of the Joint Venture Centers could fluctuate from time to time and may not wholly align with our legal ownership interests. Substantially all of our joint venture agreements contain rights of first refusal, buy-sell provisions, exit rights, default dilution remedies and/or other break up provisions or remedies which are customary in real estate joint venture agreements and which may, positively or negatively, affect the ultimate realization of cash flow and/or capital or liquidation proceeds.
Our holding company structure makes us dependent on distributions from the Operating Partnership.
Because we conduct our operations through the Operating Partnership, our ability to service our debt obligations and pay dividends to our stockholders is strictly dependent upon the earnings and cash flows of the Operating Partnership and the ability of the Operating Partnership to make distributions to us. Under the Delaware Revised Uniform Limited Partnership Act, the Operating Partnership is prohibited from making any distribution to us to the extent that at the time of the distribution, after giving effect to the distribution, all liabilities of the Operating Partnership (other than some non-recourse liabilities and some liabilities to the partners) exceed the fair value of the assets of the Operating Partnership. An inability to make cash distributions from the Operating Partnership could jeopardize our ability to maintain qualification as a REIT.