Rouse to lay off 'small number' of employees Jan. 1


The Rouse Co. confirmed yesterday that it will lay off an unspecified number of employees effective Jan. 1 because of a sharp decline in real estate development.

The layoffs will affect "considerably less than 1 percent" of Rouse's 6,000 employees across the country, said Cathy Lickteig, the company's director of corporate affairs.

She declined to provide any further details on the number of layoffs, saying, "All I can really say is it's a very small number in relation to the number of people in the company."

Rouse has not announced the layoffs but is now informing the affected employees, she said.

The layoffs result from "a significantly reduced level of development. We just simply don't have enough work for some of these people. It doesn't make any business sense to continue keeping them on the company's payroll," Ms. Lickteig said.

Certain employees in office development and leasing, and land development and sales will be offered severance packages, she said.

Rouse considers the details of those packages confidential, but Ms. Lickteig said that "it's the company's desire to do as well as possible for everybody."

Some of the employees affected by the layoffs are among the approximately 100 people who joined Rouse two years ago, when the company acquired from McCormick Inc. 90 buildings totaling about 6.1 million square feet of office, commercial and industrial space, and 470 acres of land, Ms. Lickteig said.

Many of those employees knew that their jobs might be phased out when the acquisition was complete, she said.

Whether there will be additional layoffs is "impossible to know right now," she said, adding, "We're optimistic about the company's ability to withstand the economic pressures, but we just don't know how extensive those pressures may become."

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