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ATLANTA-Opus South Corp. has filed for Chapter 11 reorganization under the US Bankruptcy Code to facilitate an ongoing financial restructuring. The locally based company—which also has operations in Tampa, FL—has included some of its subsidiaries in the filing.

“We are completely winding down operations,” Winston Hewett, director of corporate communications with Minneapolis-based Opus Corp., tells GlobeSt.com. She says none of Opus’ other four regional divisions are affected by Opus South’s decision.

The bankruptcy filing is necessitated by continued deterioration of economic conditions in the Southeast real estate markets, according to Anne Marie Solberg, Opus South’s chief restructuring officer. “While we began slowing the pace of new development nearly two years ago in anticipation of difficult market conditions, we must now take additional measures to enable an orderly wind down of our portfolio, protect asset values and maximize returns on lenders’ investments,” Solberg stated in a release.

According to Hewett, Opus South has 12 bank loans totaling $324 million that are either maturing or callable this year, of which four involve Florida condominium projects totaling $103 million with 228 of 330 units unsold. The rest of the loans involve various commercial real estate projects throughout the Southeast, she says, adding: “All of these projects were unable to secure refinancing.”

Mark Rauenhorst, chairman and CEO of Opus Corp., emphasized in the company’s announcement that the industry’s current challenges are the most difficult in the 56-year history of the family-owned development firm. He noted that the company was particularly challenged by the sharp downturn in Florida’s condo market.

Opus South currently has 25 employees in its Atlanta and Tampa offices, Hewett says. The division was already affected by companywide job cuts earlier this year, including the layoff of John Flavin, vice president of Florida operations. The firm’s headquarters was also relocated from Tampa to Atlanta late last year.

Opus South operates independently of the rest of Opus Corp. and has developed more than 27 million square feet since starting operations in 1981. The firm has expertise in office, industrial, retail, multifamily, government and institutional projects.

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