HUNTINGTON BEACH : City to Send Mobile Homes to Shelter

Three mobile homes acquired by the city Redevelopment Agency to make way for the planned expansion of the Waterfront development will be donated to a shelter for battered women.

The other 35 trailers the agency bought from the Driftwood Beach Club trailer park are scheduled to be sold at a regional auction planned for February.

The three donated trailers are scheduled to go to Option House Inc. of San Bernardino, a nonprofit organization. The group provides emergency shelter and one-year transitional housing for battered women and their children.

Option House will pay to transport the trailers to its San Bernardino site and to clean up the Driftwood property. To complete the transfer, the group must first obtain a loan from San Bernardino.

The Waterfront, on Pacific Coast Highway at Huntington Street, includes the 13-story Waterfront Hilton at Huntington Beach and several restaurants. Robert Mayer Corp., the Waterfront developer, plans to expand south onto the Driftwood property, where another hotel, restaurants and condominiums are to be built.

The Redevelopment Agency has an agreement with the developer to acquire the trailers at the mobile home park.

To date, the city has bought 38 trailers, but 164 remain occupied. Progress has been stalled because Mayer has been unable to gain financing for the expansion and because mobile home owners and the agency have not agreed on a selling price and relocation package for the remaining trailers.

"Right now, the whole project is pending," said Carol Runzel, a city redevelopment specialist.

The City Council in August authorized agency staff members to donate mobile homes to interested nonprofit groups and to sell the remaining trailers.

At its Jan. 6 meeting, the council is to schedule the auction, tentatively planned for February, Runzel said.

An auctioneer has been hired and is inviting residents and mobile home brokers from as far away as Nevada, Arizona and Mexico, she said.

At similar mobile home auctions in Dana Point in 1988 and in Tustin this year, trailers were sold for $500 to $11,600, she said.

The agency's revenue will go toward the Main-Pier Redevelopment Project, which includes the Waterfront and other developments in and around downtown.

Anyone interested in information about the auction can call Runzel at (714) 536-5529.

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