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Sad Seasons on Lanier: Money woes halt construction

POSTED: October 21, 2007 5:07 a.m.

The developer of Seasons on Lanier is not having a good financial season, according to information released by the firm’s parent corporation. The news apparently has brought activity at the Gainesville development to a halt and left the company’s future in doubt.

Levitt Corp. has announced that it expects to take pretax charges of approximately $160-170 million on home building inventory at its subsidiary Levitt and Sons, and the write-off of its investment and loans made to Levitt and Sons.

The subsidiary is the developer of Seasons on Lanier, a community designed for residents 55 years old and up. Telephones were not answered at the sales office at the development off Browns Bridge Road and a sign on the door said it would reopen Tuesday.

A design center also was closed. A sign indicated it had merged with another Levitt facility in Atlanta and provided a phone number for that location, which also did not answer calls on Tuesday.

The gates to the gated community were open and houses sat in various stages of completion.

No work was taking place at the site. Only one truck, belonging to a cabinet company, was loading materials from a house onto the truck on Tuesday.

Calls to Levitt Corp.’s headquarters were referred to a third number where a recorded message provided an apology for the lack of customer service.

"Levitt and Sons, like many home builders, is navigating a challenging home building market," said the female voice on the recording. The message contained promises to have a call center in operation by next week.

Published reports say that Levitt has scrapped plans for a 650-unit senior community in Peachtree City and is now pulling out of the Memphis, Tenn., area after a similar move in Nashville in 2006.

In September, Levitt announced that it was laying off 200 workers, almost one-third of its work force.

Last week, Levitt and Sons did not pay approximately $2.6 million in interest payments due to its five lenders, according to the corporate news release.

Through Sept. 30, Levitt Corp. had loaned approximately $84 million to Levitt and Sons to enable the firm to meet its cash requirements through that date.

The release went on to say that the parent corporation is not willing to loan any additional funds to Levitt and Sons.

Levitt and Sons is best known for creating New York’s Levittown, Long Island, and has built about 200,000 homes in the last 78 years. Current projects are in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and Tennessee.



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