The Housing Chronicles Blog: Land developer Empire Land files BK

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Land developer Empire Land files BK

Empire Land, the land development firm founded by building veteran Jim Previti after selling his homebuilding company, Forecast Homes, to K. Hovnanian in 2001, has recently filed for bankruptcy to stave off its creditors. It's a tough time to be a land developer -- land is expensive to carry and can't be depreciated -- so even though Empire was one of the largest land holders in Southern California's Inland Empire, falling values have taken their toll. From an L.A. Times story:

Empire Land, an Ontario-based land development company, has filed for bankruptcy protection, joining at least a dozen home builders that sought protection from creditors in the last 10 months as home sales and prices slumped...

The closely held company listed assets and debt of $100 million to $500 million in its filing and asked for more time from the court to provide specific financial information. Developers including Tousa Inc., Levitt & Sons and Kimball Hill Inc. have sought bankruptcy protection since June, hurt by the housing crisis.

Empire Land and its affiliates build so-called master-planned communities, large-scale projects that include commercial buildings and schools, in California and Arizona. Empire Land had assets with a book value of about $106.4 million as of Jan. 31, according to the court papers.

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