Plans Revealed for Relocation in Huntington Beach Project

Times Staff Writer

The developer of the proposed $345-million Waterfront resort and residential development in Huntington Beach released tentative plans Monday to relocate 400 residents of a mobile home park now on the project site.

According to the plan, each resident of the Driftwood Beach Club Mobile Home Park at 21462 Pacific Coast Highway will be offered the in-park fair market value of his or her home as of May 15, 1987, which is the date the project was announced.

Residents who want to keep their mobile homes have two other options. They can be relocated to Ocean View Estates at Golden West Street and Ellis Avenue in Huntington Beach, which the city bought for the mobile home owners. Or they can be moved to any mobile home park within California, Arizona or Nevada.


Stephen K. Bone, executive director of the Mayer Corp., said the corporation’s offer to pay fair market value for residents’ homes goes beyond what is required by a 1983 city ordinance adopted to deal with the conversion of mobile-home parks in the downtown redevelopment area.

The law requires the developer to buy a trailer at the price the owner originally paid for it, minus 4.5% depreciation for every year the person has lived in the trailer.

Ron Shenkman, a consultant to Mayer Corp., said: “Everything the (tenants) have asked for since day one . . . have been met.”

Bone said an appraiser appointed by the city’s Redevelopment Agency and another by the mobile home owners association will appraise the 239 trailers in the park.

He estimated that it would cost about $6.2 million to relocate all 400 residents.

The Waterfront project is a Mediterranean-style hotel, residential and retail resort that will be built on 50 acres fronting Pacific Coast Highway from Beach Boulevard to Huntington Street.

The site is also occupied by the mobile home park’s adjacent nine-hole golf course and the Huntington Beach Inn.

The project is to be built in six phases over nine years.

The first phase is to be built at the corner of Huntington Street and Pacific Coast Highway. It would include a 292-room Hilton Hotel, which would be run by Dallas-based Signet Corp., a hotel management company that oversees the Washington Plaza Hotel in Washington.

Because the development will be built in phases, many park tenants can remain for several years past the expiration of their leases.

While some trailer residents said they thought the Mayer plan is reasonable, others felt they have no choice.

“I think they’re trying to be equitable about this thing,” said R.A. Blattman, a four-year resident of the park and a member of the Driftwood Mobile Homeowners Assn.

“It’s my understanding that they are going to give us close to market value on our place, or maybe more if we go out of here gracefully. Of course, the wheels might come off the wagon on this when I find out what ultimately are the last ramifications on all this.”

But Blattman, whose two-bedroom mobile home is one of 19 trailers on the site of the first phase of the project, would have to move by late fall of this year, when ground breaking is scheduled to begin.

Blattman, 69, said he paid $52,000 cash for his mobile home and has spent about $17,000 for remodeling during the last four years.

While Blattman would be happy if he receives the $70,000 he wants, he said there are residents who don’t want to leave the park.

“There are people who want to die here,” he said. “If most want to stay here and fight, it’s idiotic. There’s no way you’re gonna fight somebody like that. I’m over 21 years old. I can read the handwriting on the wall.”

Helen Parker, 74, another resident who will be affected by the first phase of the project, said she and her husband, Stanley, do not have a choice and will relocate to Ocean View Estates. The couple have lived at the park for 15 years.

“Young people can just pick up . . . and go on. We can’t,” she said.

“It’s very hard to find a place in the Huntington Beach area because of the rent they’re asking. We’d be out on a limb in no time at all. With this, at least we have a chance.”

Construction of the first phase is scheduled to begin in late fall of this year, with completion in April, 1990.

With the entire project completed, Mayer officials estimated that the increase in revenue to the city will be $200 million, over a 25-year period.