Royce Builders now has “about 60″ employees — down from 220 earlier this year, reports the Chronicle‘s Nancy Sarnoff, who managed to get company president John Speer on the phone:
Speer said Royce is working with its lenders to complete homes that already have been started. It is also negotiating with vendors who have liens against the company.
Royce has between 60 and 80 homes that are under construction and will be completed, Speer said. Another 70 or 80 that have been contracted but not yet started are unlikely to be built.
Meanwhile, a tipster tells us that Royce
fired ALL of the project managers and construciton managers yesterday. The corporate phones are not being answered. Hammersmith mortgage, their in-house lender, was closed for good yesterday. The Stewart Title office branch in their corporate office was also closed yesterday.
. . . and adds this colorful story:
One of the PM’s (project managers) was holding a meeting yesterday with his staff of sales people and construction. This was in one of the neighborhoods he manages. He was telling the staff NOT to listen to the rumors and keep slling as usual. He got a phone call on his company cell and left the meeting for several minutes. When he returned, he informed the staff he had been fired and they are on their own.
More Royce rubbernecking . . . after the jump!
Note to remaining Royce sales staff: You have a meeting at corporate Wednesday at 9:30 am.
Not sure who will hold the meeting, but it is scheduled.
More from a tipster:
They have jooked the trades, and now employees. . . . The construction stop started several weeks ago. Many of the sales staff that hung on have been going in for a few hours a day, if even that. . . .3-4 weeks ago, the ‘central sales’ office was closed without notice. When the salespeople arrived for work, the doors were locked up. They went over to corporate and found out they were being re-assigned to neighborhoods.
What??? And no one notified Swamplot?
Royce had a seperate sales force housed in their other building across the freeway from the corporate office. Appx. 15 sales people were assigned to that section of their sales force. They sold at any location, usually to investors, sometimes to Realtors. Being reassigned means that they will be put into neighborhoods, instead of being housed together centrally.
By the way, Royce contract clearly stated that the sale could NOT be to an investor or the contract would be cancelled. This is in contradiction to what really happened. MANY of their sales were to investors. This would be the fast downfall in many of their neighborhoods as the ‘for rent’ sign would be up before the sales was even complete. . . .
Several closing set for the prior two weeks were cancelled due to liens on the property. Royce sales staff were informed that no homes completed after 01/31/08 would be allowed to close.
Got more to add? Our comments and the Swamplot tip line are open!