Avatar Holdings is offering 2.25 million shares of common stock at $18 a share, raising approximately $38.5 million after commissions and before expenses.

In late August, Avatar announced it was setting aside $500 million in shelf stock with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to be issued "from time to time" for "general corporate purposes."

The registration increased by tenfold the amount of stock the company can issue. Before the registration, the company had a $50 million stock registration with only 8.8 million shares out. In the past 52 weeks, its price has ranged from $13.65 a share to $37.28 a share. It closed Thursday at $18.08.

The Florida-centric Avatar, which has severely curtailed its home construction, has not commented on exactly what it plans to do with the new capital. However, in the prospectus filed with the shelf offering statement, the Coral Gables, Fla.-based company said it hopes to eventually profit from the downturn by buying deeply discounted land in Florida.

So far, the company hasn't found any land discounted far enough, the prospectus said. "However, we believe we are approaching a window in which these opportunities will become available."