The "bet" is that if the NAV holds firm (at a minimum) and you are getting ROC dividends including income that the overall ROI takes care of itself in the end. My take is that the you can play this strategy with a GRT if you are disciplined enough to hold thru the turbulance that regularly greets the regional mall sector and buy with a sell time frame that is disciplined.
The reits of the 70s do not compare to today's reits. Those reits were so overleveraged as to make GRT and MLS look downright conservative by those past standards.
The one good thing I see in GRT is that they are finally making a move towards capital recycling and taking hold of their better ppties and letting some of these non core holdings go. It appears they are doing it in a disciplined manner.