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Office developer Crescent Resources reportedly in danger of bankruptcy

Crescent Resources, a Charlotte, N.C., company that developed some of the Tampa Bay area's most prominent office buildings, may be a bankruptcy risk.

An executive with parent company Duke Energy told the Charlotte Observer this week that Crescent's inability to restructure debt could land it in Chapter 11.

Following up the bankruptcy rumors Wednesday, Crescent president Art Fields acknowledged the company has suffered from reduced demand and lower prices for its land and buildings. But he didn't use the "B" word.

"We are currently working constructively with our stakeholders to evaluate a number of alternatives to enable the company to right-size its business and capital structure," Fields said in a written statement.

Crescent's best-known local development is the Corporate Center at International Plaza, which takes in about 1 million square feet of offices. Tenants include OSI Restaurant Partners, parent company of Outback Steakhouse; Carlton Fields law firm; and Gerdau Ameristeel, one of the largest Tampa-based companies.

Crescent is still leasing the 247,000-square-foot Corporate Center 4 in the West Shore Business District.

It opened in November and is about 55 percent leased.

The company also owns hundreds of acres of land for two other office parks: Hidden River at Fletcher Avenue and Interstate 75, and Crosstown Center in Brandon.

Local real estate analysts haven't detected any major signs of trouble from Crescent locally. But the company is heavily into housing in other states.

"For the particular market environment, I think they've done a good job," said Randy Smith at Tampa's GVA Advantis Real Estate Services.

The credit freeze that intensified last fall has played havoc with real estate developers.

It also ensnared Opus South Corp., a large commercial real estate developer that recently announced its departure from the Tampa Bay area market under a cloud of insolvency.

Crescent has 264 employees, 53,000 acres of land in 41 planned communities, 65,000 acres of raw land in the Carolinas, and 13 development projects, including the Tampa office parks.

Office developer Crescent Resources reportedly in danger of bankruptcy 05/06/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, May 6, 2009 9:09pm]
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