A couple of news bits I’ve come across this morning as I wade through the news and e-mails from my time off last week:

  • Here’s a big one from reporter Mike Freeman at the Union-Tribune: Barratt American filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization on Christmas Eve, seeking protection from its creditors — mostly the contractors hired to build the projects that are now stalled, companies that are collectively owed more than $20 million.

From that story:

Two days before Barratt sought protection, Bank of America foreclosed on seven of Barratt’s current subdivisions or condo projects, claiming it was owed nearly $79 million.

The bank is taking back four other projects in Riverside and San Bernardino counties. … The company hopes to reorganize with the aim of starting new home construction again in 2010.

“What we’ll do is work with new financial partners and basically restart,” Pattinson said. …

The company is believed to be the largest locally based builder to file for bankruptcy in the current housing slump.

The Carlsbad-based company had talked about filing for bankruptcy after Bank of America froze its funding earlier this year and began the foreclosure proceedings that it apparently completed last week.

You might remember the company stopped work on the second half of its Nantucket project in Leucadia after the funding was frozen; I wrote about that project a few months ago. Other projects the bank seized include Magnolia Estates in Carlsbad, Aragon in La Mesa and City Square in Escondido.

  • And here’s another bit of news: Alan Nevin, local economist at MarketPointe Realty Advisors, has been let go from his post as chief economist for the California Building Industry Association. The Sacramento Bee reported last week that the state group announced it was ending its retainer with Nevin. He’s held that post since 2004 and has been responsible for an annual forecast of new home sales.

Anything catch your eye in the news this week? Send me an e-mail at kelly.bennett@voiceofsandiego.org.

KELLY BENNETT

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