Luxury Homebuilder in Charlotte Succumbs to Housing Slump

Chalk it up to the protracted housing slump: The leading home builder in the southeast won't be erecting any more houses. Charlotte, N.C.-based Simonini Builders has announced it will be closing operations by the end of the year. One of the best-known luxury home builders in the nation, Simonini was awarded Builder Magazine's "2002 America's Best Builder Award," "2005 Best in American Living Award," and Professional Builder's Magazine "2006 National Builder of the Year."
Alan Simonini and Ray Killian formed Simonini Builders 16 years ago and have built over 700 homes in the Charlotte and Lake Norman regions of North Carolina and the Charleston and Kiawah Island regions of South Carolina. The prices range from $475,000 to $6 million. They also provided high-end renovations for discriminating clients. CEO Ray Killian Jr. said, "The Simonini story is one of evolution from a family business to a dynamic builder of some of the South's finest homes. Regrettably, that story will end as a result of the general deterioration of the fundamentals of the homebuilding industry in ways never seen before."

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Simonini is committed to completing the 14 homes it is currently building, finishing all renovations now in progress, and selling 21 homes that they have in inventory. Their newest development, The Preserve at Robbins Park, was Simonini's attempt to adjust to the changing real estate market by planning a development of 76 homes built to a smaller scale than was their norm, but filled with the luxurious amenities with which the Simonini name has become associated. The development is hosting the Charlotte Home Builders Association annual Homearama conference, even though at this point there are no plans to complete it. A group of investors are conducting due diligence studies on the feasibility of completing the development with a new builder, but no decision has been made.

Said Alan Simonini: "The catastrophic changes we've seen in the overall real estate market over the past two years could not have been anticipated and are unlike anything I expected to see in my lifetime.

"Until very recently, we hoped and believed Simonini Builders would get over the hump," he continued, "but over the last few days, reality has belied hope and belief. We realize that the real estate market has been and continues to be worse than any of us thought was remotely possible."

Barbara Green is the Design Diva and owner of Sensibly Chic Interior Design. Follow her on Twitter @thedesigndiva.

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