The sale of about 8 acres of harborfront property in Newport Beach could foreshadow dramatic changes along the stretch of West Coast Highway known as Mariner's Mile, a city official says.
On Jan. 5, Newport Beach real estate investors Manouch and Mark Moshayedi purchased Ardell Investment Co.'s property holdings along West Coast Highway, including 3.5 acres containing the Ardell Yacht & Ship Brokers business and marina and the property next door, which houses a clothing store called A'maree's, according to documents obtained from the Orange County clerk-recorder's office.
The roughly $72 million deal also includes 4.4 acres across the street that house Sun Country Marine and Johnston Yacht Sales, documents show.
Ardell Yacht & Ship Brokers, which has been on Mariner's Mile since the 1950s, is expected to close in February, according to a company statement.
"The Ardell name is being retired," the statement reads. "The management, brokers (and) staff ... leave with the satisfaction of knowing Ardell provided the highest service for over half a century."
Mark Moshayedi said he and his brother don't have specific plans for the newly purchased property.
"We're planning to reach out to the city and see how they envision the area developing," he said. "It's going to take some time to figure out what fits and make sure that whatever we design is consistent with the needs of the community."
But Newport Beach Councilman Ed Selich said the purchase of the Ardell property — the largest stretch of waterfront property in the area — could jump-start revitalization efforts.
"Redeveloping that property would be a big stimulus for Mariner's Mile," Selich said.
Mariner's Mile is a stretch of West Coast Highway near Newport Harbor that reaches between Newport Boulevard and Dover Drive. The area began as a nautical-focused destination and has transformed over the past several decades into a haven for luxury car dealers, restaurants and yacht businesses.
Several years ago, the city identified Mariner's Mile — along with a host of other areas, including Lido Marina Village and Balboa Village — as needing revitalization.
However, a decision on how best to use the narrow 1.5-mile stretch, which is hemmed in by the bluffs on one side and the harbor on the other, has long eluded city leaders. Officials have indicated a desire to increase pedestrian access on Mariner's Mile, but plans to make that happen have not been finalized.
"It seems like it's been under constant study," Selich said. "But the configuration of the area is challenging, so it's been difficult to come up with a plan. The sale of the Ardell property could make way for other things to happen there."
The Moshayedis' recent purchase is a fraction of what the family owns along Mariner's Mile. Their holdings already include the cluster of gray and white office buildings next to Ardell Yacht & Ship Brokers known as the Mariner's Mile Marine Center.