Monday, June 1, 2009

Colorado Builder - McStain Neighborhoods files McBankruptcy

McStain Enterprises Inc., one of Colorado’s first “green” homebuilders, voluntarily filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization on Friday, according to bankruptcy court records.

The Louisville-based company declared $10 million to $50 million in assets, and the same range in liabilities. McStain -- which does business as McStain Neighborhoods -- has told customers it plans to sell its finished homes and complete those that are under construction. The filing does not affect the Indian Peaks South neighborhood because of a separate ownership structure.

In February of this year, McStain told customers on its website that “we have been assured by our bankers and other professional associates that we are healthier than most of the private builders they deal with. … To paraphrase Mark Twain: ‘The rumors of our demise have been greatly exaggerated.’ Rumors that we filed for bankruptcy are simply not true.”

Other Colorado builders to declare Chapter 11 recently include Village Homes of Colorado in Greenwood Village, which had last year’s largest local bankruptcy reorganization with $138.4 million in debt, and Tousa Inc., the Florida-based parent of Colorado’s Engle Homes Inc.
John Laing Homes of Irvine, Calif., which was active in metro Denver, filed Chapter 11 early this year.

McStain’s largest unsecured creditors include Scheer’s Inc. of Illinois (which is owed $10.85 million), Key Bank ($3 million), CRE400 Centennial LLC-Crestone ($2 million) and William and Associates of Boulder ($1.54 million), according to the bankruptcy filing.

Other unsecured creditors include First National Bank, GE Capital, Namaste Solar Electric Inc., Guy’s Floor Service Inc. and the City and County of Denver (sales tax).

McStain has taken significant steps to cut costs and shore up its flagging business in the last year.
The builder’s former president and CEO, Eric Wittenberg, voluntarily left the company in late summer 2008 to save money, and was replaced by McStain co-founder Tom Hoyt. Hoyt took the titles president and board chairman.

McStain Enterprises also closed its physical headquarters operation in Louisville last November. At that time, McStain had 21 employees, down from 75 people early last fall and from a peak of 115 a few years ago. Remaining employees were to create a virtual office, using cell phones and computers.

Tom and Caroline Hoyt, with their friend David Stainton, started McStain in 1966, when they bought a small Boulder custom builder called Horizon Building Co. Over the years, the partners built the company from a simple custom builder to a designer and developer of master-planned communities such as Indian Peaks in Lafayette and MeadowView in Longmont. They also moved into sustainable, energy-efficient housing.
McStain has worked on several urban infill projects, as well, including ones in Denver’s Lowry and Stapleton neighborhoods and Belmar in Lakewood.

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