Mobile-Home Residents Make Buy-out Offer

Belt Boyce, right, along with another resident, for years have tried to organize a buyout of the park.

Residents of a 130-unit mobile home park have for the first time made a formal offer of $41 million to buy the property when and if it’s sold.

The potential sale of Laguna Terrace Mobile Home Park at 30802 South Coast Highway has percolated for years, delayed by litigation and contested decisions.

Sean Schlueter, a 10-year resident spearheading the purchase offer, sent park neighbors a copy of the letter of intent, which was agreed upon and signed by Boyce Belt, the park association president.  Seventy-three residents supported submitting the letter to the park’s owner, Stephen Esslinger; 18 opposed.

“This is a letter of intent to see if we have a willing seller,” said Schlueter.  “The interest rates are as low now as they’re ever going to be.  We’ll never know unless we ask.  At least our hat’s in the ring.”

The offer is good until Oct. 6, Schlueter said, who added that he and the nearly 400 park residents expect a written response.

Schlueter owns his mobile home on the hill across Coast Highway from Treasure Island beach park and would like to buy the lot beneath its wheels. So do 54 percent of the park’s other residents.  Schlueter was a founding member of the park’s association, which he said was established to purchase the mobile home park and convert it to a nonprofit, resident-owned property. Park residents agreed to the idea four years ago.  This is the first time a formal offer has been made to Esslinger because earlier ownership was in contention among family members.

Esslinger, whose grandfather developed the park, has proposed subdividing the property for individual purchase, but that plan has been stymied by the California Coastal Commission due to a question over lot lines and natural waterways.

The purchase price is based on a 2007 appraisal of the property, according to documents. Schlueter said all leases will be protected and lot purchase is not required to continue renting at the mobile home park.

Belt said he expects a response from Esslinger or his attorney, Boyd Hill, within the next two weeks.  Esslinger and Hill did not return phone calls seeking comment nor did the park’s general manager, James Lawson.



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