OXNARD — If the developers of projects in the Palm Springs area had to jump through as many hoops as Aaron Raznick and Karl O. Bergheer to get The Colony at Mandalay Beach off the ground, the desert would have more sand and fewer golf courses.
Opening this weekend at Channel Islands Harbor, the $110-million development will have an estimated 425 to 430 units--200 of which have been sold from a waiting list of more than 1,000, according to Bergheer, president of the Santa Ana-based Bergheer Co.
He and Raznick, president of Raznick & Sons Inc., Woodland Hills, are in the proverbial catbird seat, with one of only two new residential developments on the so-called Gold Coast--the stretch of coastline between Malibu and Santa Barbara.
Jumping more than 200 miles to the southeast, it's as if William Bone of the Sunrise Co. were the only developer in the Coachella Valley to offer golf course-oriented projects. Bone would certainly like that, but it's unlikely that he would like dealing with many layers of government--especially those pertaining to coastal protection--that Raznick and Bergheer face every time they develop a project.
Priced from $143,000 to $450,000, the units are available in four Seaside Villa plans with 1,200 to 1,600 square feet, and five Beach Home plans with 1,700 to 2,600 square feet.
The architect is Corbin Yamafuji & Partners, Irvine, while the landscape architect is POD Inc., Santa Ana. The Goodkin Group, La Jolla, is the marketing adviser and Allstate Savings & Loan supplied financing.
"We plan to build about 110 of the larger, more expensive Beach Homes and 320 of the villas," Bergheer said, adding that the project has been designed to appeal both to primary- and second-home buyers.
"Most of the buyers are coming from the San Fernando Valley, thinking in terms of a second home or a primary retirement residence, but we're getting prospects from every part of the Los Angeles metro area and from such places as Bakersfield," he said.
While it won't have a golf course, the development at 2121 S. Harbor Blvd., near the intersection of Channel Islands and Harbor boulevards, appears to be modeled on resort projects in the Coachella Valley, right down to the security gates, tennis courts, restaurants and shops.
A $34-million, 250-suite Embassy Suites Mandalay Beach Resort & Conference Hotel, under construction, is franchised and managed by the Embassy Suites chain in Irving (Dallas), Tex. and owned and developed by Joseph Amoroso of Amoroso Development Inc., Westlake Village and Robert Woolley of United Suites, Newport Beach.
Amoroso said that the suites will be priced in the $110-$125 per night range, and each will have two bathrooms. The 3.5-acre development will have 15,000 square feet of conference space and a 9,000-square-foot restaurant, he added. Completion is expected late this year, he added.
Despite the amenities of the development, parallels with the Lower Desert quickly disappear, Bergheer said.
The Palm Springs-Palm Desert area is overbuilt and getting more so with each day, he said. (He is familiar with the Lower Desert, having built there as early as 1970; his most recent project there was the 59-unit Sandpiper Homes development, built at the Indian Wells Country Club in 1979.) Overbuilding is impossible on the Gold Coast because of limited buildable land, many coastal restrictions and the planning policy of Ventura County that dictates green-belt separation between communities.
Hugo Hansen, major account manager for commercial, industrial and subdivisions at Ticor Title in Oxnard, said that the only development even roughly comparable to The Colony at Mandalay Beach is Beachport, a 80-unit development on the beach in Port Hueneme. The developer of this 4.3-acre project is R. L. Hertel Construction Co., Ventura. Two- and three-bedroom units range in size from 1,200 to 1,650 square feet and are priced from $125,000 to $200,000. Two phases of 40 units each are planned, with the first phase expected to be completed by September. The sales office is scheduled to open May 15 at 755 Island View Circle, Port Hueneme. Amenities at Beachport include a 12,000-square-foot clubhouse with an indoor swimming pool.
Hansen agrees with Bergheer's assessment on growth in Ventura County, especially the coastal areas: "The planning process--seven years for The Colony--is too cumbersome for all but the hardiest developers, making overbuilding virtually impossible here."
Raznick and Bergheer joined forces in the mid-1970s to build HarborWalk, a 244-unit condominium development just south of The Colony.