Developers Pay $100 for Site--With a Catch


Want to buy half a block in downtown Oxnard for $100?

That’s the deal two developers are getting--but there’s a catch. They had to promise the seller, the city of Oxnard, that they’ll build 28 townhouses on the site for low- and moderate-income families.

Partners Dennis Howarth, a Ventura businessman, and David Ball, an Orange County architect, will be required to give the land back if they fail to offer the units at prices ranging from about $94,000 to $127,000 each, according to Alex Herrera, the city’s assistant planner.

The city paid about $1 million in the late 1980s to buy and clear the 1.3-acre parcel between 6th and 7th streets and west of B Street. People who were living in houses and apartments there were relocated. “The area was blighted,” Herrera said. “It had to be cleared so decent housing could be provided.”


Herrera said city officials, who gave the sale final approval last month, estimate that the land is worth only about $100 to the buyers “when you consider the construction cost and the (sale) prices they’re being held to.”

He said that the Oxnard Farmers’ Market, currently held on the property, will be moved, and that construction will start early next year.