The state Department of Real Estate issued a report last week giving final clearance for the Marina City Club Towers to become the first condominium complex in Marina del Rey.
The state approval ends a two-year struggle by developers to convert the 600-unit City Club Towers from apartments to condominiums.
For the past year, J. H. Snyder Co., owner of the complex, has been selling long-term, prepaid subleases for the apartments at prices ranging from $152,000 to $709,000--in essence asking buyers to pay for 79 years of rent in advance.
Officially Called Condominiums
Although the apartments are now officially called condominiums, buyers will still not be given title to their units or a share in the land as with most condominiums, said Ed Grant, a manager with the real estate department.
But Jerome Snyder, a partner with J. H. Snyder Co., said the term "condominium" is much more familiar to people than "long-term, prepaid sublease," which is difficult to explain to potential buyers and financiers.
"I guess the significance of this is that it's a better marketing tool for us and easier to finance," he said, adding that leases to about 200 units have already been sold.
The towers' tenants fought the Snyder Co.'s plan when it was proposed two years ago, saying it would drive out residents who could not afford the high prices for the units and make the marina affordable only for the rich.
In December 1986, a Los Angeles Superior Court judge ruled against the plaintiffs, who claimed that they had not been given enough time to prepare opposition to the plan before the County Board of Supervisors approved it.
Given Up Fight
The residents who opposed the condominium conversion have since given up the fight and moved out, said Stuart M. Rice, an attorney who once represented them.
The City Club is on land the developer leases from the county. The county has already earned about $2.5 million from a 7.5% fee paid for each sublease sold, according to Ted Reed, director of the Department of Beaches and Harbors.
Chris Klinger, chief of the department's asset management division, said the county expects to eventually earn $1.3 billion in fees over the length of the 79-year lease from the City Club and in anticipated revenues from a Ritz-Carlton hotel planned for the marina.
Reed said that when the lease expires, the county, theoretically, will own the towers.