Bankruptcy leaves Myrtle Beach owners adrift

TPC of Myrtle Beach in Prince Creek is just a short drive from the Seasons development whose builder, Levitt & Sons, has declared bankruptcy. Photo by Elliot DeBear


    The Seasons community in the Prince Creek West community of Murrells Inlet, SC, seemed to have everything going for it.  Prices for single-family homes were reasonable in the low six-figures for a neighborhood within a short distance of a TPC golf course.  Plenty of good shopping is nearby, but not so close as to push too much traffic past the gates of Prince Creek.  Beaches and nice restaurants are no more than 15 minutes away.  And the builder, Florida-based Levitt & Sons, had promised a nice set of amenities, including a 26,000 square foot clubhouse.  If the name Levitt has a familiar ring to it, yes, it is the company that built the famed Levittown on Long Island, NY, 60 years ago.  The company's name is ingrained in the history of real estate development in the U.S.
    But stuff happens, and Levitt & Sons had leveraged itself with a lot of debt, putting itself at risk.  All it took was the new home construction market to go into the dumper and Levitt had no room to negotiate with its bankers.  After posting a $170 million loss in the third quarter that ended in September, Levitt filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, leaving its customers in various states of concern.  Those who own one of the 80 built homes in Seasons wonder if they will continue to live in a "ghost town" devoid of the promised amenities.  In worse shape are those whose homes are completed; they are waiting for a closing that may not come for months until a bankruptcy court declares next moves for the troubled company.   And then there are the pour souls who borrowed money in order to build and now have liens against their unfinished homes; foreclosure is closing in on them.
    The 460 planned homes may never be built in Seasons but, for now, that is the least of the worries of those staring at months, if not years, of uncertainty.

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