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Slumping market claims Windjammer Home Builders

Another private luxury home builder near Tampa has gone out of business, the victim of the industrywide sclerosis that has robbed builders of their lifeblood.

Windjammer Home Builders built in such pricey enclaves as Lake Jovita and Grey Hawk at Lake Polo in Pasco County. Far from being an upstart in the business, president Robert Vause founded the company, based in New Port Richey, in the 1980s.

Sales had been dwindling since peaking in 2006 at $31 million. In 2007, income had dropped to $19 million. Last year sales barely surpassed $7 million.

Windjammer was swamped with a couple of dozen lawsuits from contractors, banks and taxing authorities seeking payment. According to his Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing Thursday, Vause owed $7.5 million, including about $2 million each to lenders BB&T, SunTrust Bank and Whitney National Bank.

Pasco and Hernando counties have been dunning Windjammer for $91,000 in delinquent property taxes.

The list of defunct Tampa area builders grows longer as sales decline three quarters since the 2006 peak. Casualties in the past year include Nohl Crest Homes, Tripp Trademark Homes and Smith Family Homes.

WCI Communities and Engle Homes have filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and intend to stay in business. Other builders, including McCar Homes, have pretty much ceased new construction.

Slumping market claims Windjammer Home Builders 01/30/09 [Last modified: Friday, January 30, 2009 3:53pm]
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