Homebuilder Panitz closes its doors

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  • | 12:00 p.m. May 3, 2007
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from staff

One of Jacksonville’s oldest and best-known homebuilders is calling it quits due to what its owner says is a prolonged downturn in the local real estate market.

Panitz Signature Homes made the decision last month to leave the homebuilding business rather than weather the current cycle. The company will sell 11 homes, 25 home sites and 32 townhome sites during a May 19 auction. J.P. King Auction Company will manage the sale.

The family-owned, third generation luxury homebuilder has built thousands of homes in the Northeast Florida area since opening in Jacksonville in 1980 as Panitz Homes. In 1994, Panitz Homes became the first builder in Jacksonville to sell to a public homebuilder, Beazer Homes.

After operating for nine years as a division of Beazer, Lee and Sandra Panitz — along with son Rob Hamby — left Beazer to return to custom home building. The family established Panitz Signature Homes and has built an average of 50 homes per year over the past four years. Along the way, the company has won numerous local, state and national awards for their homes and service.

“It’s a sad day for us, but unfortunately, one that couldn’t be avoided,” said Lee Panitz. “We know the market will eventually come around, but at this stage in our careers, we couldn’t assume the additional risk of continuing further in the current market. We’ve always operated with a very strong sense of personal responsibility to our customers, subcontractors and business partners, and we also had their interests in mind with this decision.”

The auction will be held at 11 a.m. at the Holiday Inn Baymeadows at 9150 Baymeadows Rd.

The auction will help the Panitz family wrap up its business without waiting for the properties to sell using ordinary marketing methods in a slow market, said Craig King, president of J.P. King.

“When somebody decides to call it quits, they typically want to wind it down pretty quickly,” said King. “The auction will help them close things out and get on with the next chapter in their lives.”

King said the auction will help Panitz reduce its inventory quickly as well as those looking for a well-built home at a fair price.

“The current oversupply of homes and slow sales are especially hard on smaller builders with high-end products,” he said. “The auction will give individual buyers an opportunity to buy at a fair market value while helping reduce inventories. These are gorgeous luxury homes and sites in some of the area’s premiere communities.”



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