St. Louis Public Radio News
9:08 am
Mon October 19, 2009

New Town developer, Whittaker, files for bankruptcy

St. Louis, MO – The largest home builder in St. Charles County, Whittaker Builders, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

Whittaker is most widely known for being the primary architect of the $1.5 billion new urbanism development know as "New Town at St. Charles".

Whittaker spokesman Tim Busse said the decision to seek bankruptcy protection was a defensive move to protect the company's assets from its creditors.

"I guess the best way to say it is that we have been trying to deal with a bank that has become increasingly hostile to our business," said Busse. "It was important to us to protect our communities and our business from them."

Busse said the massive downturn in new construction left the company over leveraged.

"Historically, up until the last three to four years we've sold 400 to 500 houses", he said. "Our goal is, in the next three years to get to 50 percent of that."

Busse said new home sales have dropped by more than 60 percent in recent years.

He said the company is in the process of downsizing and hopes to emerge from bankruptcy protection some time in 2012.