Major Private Homebuilder Emerges from Chapter 11 Bankruptcy
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Major Private Homebuilder Emerges from Bankruptcy

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Woodside Homes, one of the largest private homebuilders in the country, will emerge from bankruptcy after weathering a 14-month long Chapter 11 bankruptcy restructuring.

Salt Lake City-based Woodside Homes is one of the largest privately held homebuilders in the country, with operations that span from California, Nevada, Utah and Arizona, to Texas, Minnesota and Florida. Many small builders were unable to survive the economic recession and housing bubble that burst several years ago.

Woodside Homes, however, was able to keep selling homes even as it restructured. The company sold about 2,500 homes while it reorganized.

Now the 33-year-old company will emerge successfully from bankruptcy, according to the Las Vegas Business Press. As a part of the restructuring process, Woodside went through capital restructuring and shedding assets that were dragging down the overall performance of the company, all while attempting to keep key staff members employed.

"We look forward to rebounding in 2011," said division manager Gene Morrison, who oversees operations in Phoenix and Las Vegas. "It has been a very challenging last couple (of) years. We expect to close on 200 homes in 2010."

Among builders in Southern Nevada, Woodside Homes is ranked fifth in 2010, measured through the month of April. They have sold 108 new homes thus far this year, representing a market share of around 7 percent, according to the Las Vegas Business Journal.

Home Builders Research President Dennis Smith commented on the nature of Woodside Homes' emergence from Chapter 11 bankruptcy restructuring. "For any builder to come out of bankruptcy and be successful in today's market is a fantastic accomplishment," he said. "It's a testament to their home plans and projects. Woodside actually climbed and increased their market share during bankruptcy."

Woodside CEO Joel Shine said the company's post-bankruptcy plan will see the creation of a new independent board, consisting of five members that make up the board of directors. The company's balance sheet is improved as well, he said, with $315 million in restructured debt and upwards of $200 million in cash. While he didn’t get into specifics, he did say that the company now outsources some of its staff duties and services.

In Las Vegas, the number of employees in the Woodside Homes office dropped from 60 to its current number of 15.

"Our goal is to maintain entrepreneurship, being responsive to the market and buyer, and still have the discipline of a public company," said Shine. "If we do this right, we can have the best of both worlds."

The Woodside strategy is to reduce amenities and market more simple home designs in order to save customers' money and create lower prices, according to the Las Vegas Business Journal story. Customers feel that they are getting a good value, and sales rise.

"The goal is to understand what the homebuyer will and won't pay for," said Shine, describing this strategy. "In virtually every experience, it has increased sales."

To give an example of its urban presence, Woodside Homes currently manages the property of seven subdivisions in the Las Vegas area. Their homes in that region start in the mid-$100,000 range.


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