Wednesday, August 16, 2006

jade homes shut down operations

dank geht an mish und sein markettraderforum

Jade Homes shuts down operations
Home builder hopes it's just temporary

SARASOTA -- Jade Homes, a Sarasota-based builder with 75 houses in varying stages of construction in Sarasota, Charlotte and Manatee counties, has shut down its operations and closed its main office and six sales centers.

On Friday, the company laid off half of its 16-person purchasing and administrative staff and effectively shuttered its main office and suspended telephone contact. An answering machine is taking calls.

Besides the houses under construction, Jade has signed contracts with five buyers whose homes have yet to be started, Jade president Andrew Coles said Tuesday.

Coles said he hopes Friday's closure will not be permanent, but added that he is meeting with his lawyers to examine options.

"We are having to downsize because of the slowdown," Coles said.

Jade, which has built more 500 area homes since its founding in 1997, sold 123 in 2005, according to Coles.This year, Jade sold four. (soft landing.....)

"That tells you the nature of the problem," Coles said.

Coles said he hopes to fulfill his obligations to buyers and subcontractors, but could not offer specifics. He said the company has no immediate plans to file for federal bankruptcy protection, but he did not rule it out.

There have been scattered construction-related layoffs in the region, but no reports so far of any substantial builders closing their doors during this downside of the 2004-05 construction binge.

A former sales associate who worked for Jade in Port Charlotte says that most or all of the company's three dozen or so remaining employees were laid off on Friday.

"I think everybody got laid off, in sales anyway. I know there were some construction people laid off a couple of weeks ago," said Mary Lanning, who ran one of Jade's model centers.

"They have homes under construction, lots of them."

Jade has been selling homes and sites at the Rye Wilderness Estates in Manatee County, Oak Vistas in Sarasota, Charleston Crossings in North Port, and Price Boulevard in North Port.

Sales of new and existing homes have slowed markedly in 2006, compared with the two previous years.

On Tuesday, the National Association of Realtors in its monthly forecast predicted that 2006 sales of new homes nationwide would drop 12.8 percent this year to 1.12 million, and housing starts should decline by 9.1 percent to 1.88 million. It said 2005 was the record strongest year for housing sales and starts.

Swimming pool builder Swim Inc. is one of Jade's largest subcontractors. Owner Dan Johnson said that Jade's payment record has been "impeccable" and that he doesn't have another check due for a couple of days.

If Jade were to go belly up, he said, home buyers whose deal was in progress could be the most at risk.

"I think they would find themselves in a world of trouble, especially if they own the lot but don't yet own the home because it wasn't completed," Johnson said.

Larry Anderson, executive director of the Home Builders Association of Sarasota County, painted a less dire picture. (natürlich nicht..........)

"Generally the banks take over on these, so I mean, nobody gets hurt on this, except maybe a few subs," he said.

Anderson said he spoke to Coles a week ago, and nothing unusual came up. Jade is one of about 280 builders that are members of the association.

Jade Homes is one of three builders that have models at Rye Wilderness, a northeast Manatee County subdivision with large lots where homes are priced from the upper $500,000s to $700,000.

On Tuesday, four lots there had Jade Homes' "Sold" signs on them and two Jade houses were under construction. One of those had a roof ready for a tiling crew. On the other house, the roof had been sheathed with plywood but tar paper rolls sat unattended on the roof.



Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home