The end may be near for the home builder best known for building New York's Levittown on Long Island from 1947 to 1951. The Levitt Corp. released a statement Thursday saying subsidiary Levitt and Sons "did not pay the approximately $2.6 million of interest payments due to its five lenders on Oct. 10."
"Absent a restructuring of the debt which addresses Levitt and Sons' long-term requirements, Levitt and Sons' viability is uncertain," the Levitt Corp. said in the statement. "Based on the deteriorating home building markets, Levitt Corp. is currently unwilling to loan additional funds to Levitt and Sons unless Levitt and Sons' debt is restructured in a way which increases the likelihood that Levitt and Sons can generate sufficient cash to meet its ongoing obligations and be positioned to address the long-term issues it faces. Levitt and Sons is continuing to negotiate with its lenders and while Levitt Corp. may in the future determine that it is appropriate to make additional loans to Levitt and Sons, it is also possible that the Levitt Corp. will determine not to do so under the circumstances that exist."
The company's announcement is the latest development in what appears to be a turbulent few weeks for Levitt and Sons. The home builder is abandoning the Memphis, Tenn., market after only three years and recently scrapped a 650-unit senior subdivision in Peachtree City, Ga. Memphis is the second Tennessee market Levitt and Sons has left - its Nashville offices closed in 2006. The Levitt Corp. also announced in early September that 200 employees of Levitt and Sons (roughly one-third of its workforce) would be laid off.
At press time, a call to the Levitt Corp. for further comment on the subsidiary's future was not returned.
Abraham Levitt started Levitt and Sons as a luxury home builder in 1929. But the builder is best known for creating Levittown, which was developed for returning soldiers from World War II. The first Levittown home was sold in 1949 in New York's Long Island. Another Levittown opened five years later in Pennsylvania.
On the company's Web site, the builder says it has built over 200,000 homes throughout the U.S., Canada, Puerto Rico, and Europe but its geographic footprint is currently only found in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and Tennessee.
Levitt and Sons was ranked No. 50 on the 2006 BUILDER 100.