StoryBuilt lays off 137 employees, enters receivership 

Requested $10M in rescue capital from investors

Austin-based StoryBuilt has laid off 137 employees and gone into a voluntary receivership, a move prompted by the company’s financial meltdown.
StoryBuilt CEO Anthony Siela (LinkedIn, Getty)

More than half of StoryBuilt’s staff is gone, and an independent trustee has stepped in to remedy the company’s messy financial situation.

StoryBuilt has laid off 137 employees, several weeks after the Austin-based firm announced leadership changes and its plans to furlough much of its staff in light of a financial meltdown, the Austin Business Journal reported

StoryBuilt, which has been a driving force behind numerous developments on South First Street in South Austin, once employed 250 people, but it’s unclear how many remain. The company was working to attain external funding and planned to recall furloughed employees to start working again, but it was unable to secure sufficient capital, according to a letter to employees.

StoryBuilt, founded as PSW Real Estate in 1991, appeared to be rolling in the right direction, as it raked in nearly $72 million in revenue two years ago. However, the company failed to capitalize on its large-scale growth goals, prompting the layoffs and executive overhaul, according to a letter to investors from CEO Anthony Siela.

StoryBuilt requested $10 million in rescue capital from its investors. To make matters worse, the firm has been hit with three lawsuits this year, and the plaintiffs are seeking more than $1.5 million in relief. 

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Moreover, the company has gone into voluntary receivership, the Austin American-Statesman reported. A court-appointed receiver will guide StoryBuilt’s restructuring. 

StoryBuilt has several in-progress developments in Austin, and their futures are uncertain. Last year, the firm announced plans to build 84 condos and offices at 755 Springdale Road. The site is partially fenced off, but construction hasn’t begun.

The company’s Frank West community at 900 South Second Street still has several residences left to be completed. 

—Quinn Donoghue 

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