A spokesperson for Chicago-based Pasquinelli/Portrait Homes confirmed Monday that the company has halted home building.

"We have aggressively right-sized the business given the severe economic and housing downturn and therefore are not undertaking new home construction right now given market conditions, [but] we remain in business selling homes," said Jonathan Dedmon, a Pasquinelli spokesperson with The Dilenschneider Group, a New York public relations firm.

Dedmon added that the company is in "negotiations with lenders, some more successful than others." He said the company would have a further statement on Wednesday, Feb. 18.

Recent news reports have painted a rather grim picture. In December, Builder magazine reported that banks had taken over a handful of the company's projects spread across Illinois, South Carolina, and Texas. Then in January, a judge in Illinois's Cook County ordered the company to pay five families who purchased new homes in Lake in the Hills, Ill., a total of $1.1 million for a violation of the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act.

Neither CEO Michael Pasquinelli nor Bruno Pasquinelli, company co-owner and president, could be reached for comment.

On its Web site, the company stated it has built over 45,000 homes in 13 metro areas throughout its 50-year existence. However, the company's long history has been deeply rooted in the Chicago market, an area that has seen the demise of numerous builders recently, including Kimball Hill Homes and Neumann Homes.

Privately held Pasquinelli was listed the nation's 24th-largest builder on Builder's 2007 Builder 100 list with 2,974 closings in 2007, a drop of 21% from the previous year. Revenue was reported at $613 million, down from $825 million in 2006.

With more than 82 communities listed on its Web site across nine states, the majority of the company's projects lie in southern areas such as the Carolinas, Georgia, and Texas, which in some cases haven't been ravaged quite as severely as areas in Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. This geographic concentration has some industry stakeholders thinking that if the company does file for bankruptcy, management could shrink its footprint to focus only on markets in the Sun Belt.

Learn more about markets featured in this article: Chicago, IL.