A major Japanese financial concern said Friday that it agreed to acquire a 231-acre swath of Orange County seaside land--known as Monarch Beach--which is one of the last large undeveloped coastal properties in Southern California.
Tokyo-based Nippon Shinpan Co., which owns Japan's largest credit card company, said it will pay "well over" $100 million to acquire the property held by Qintex Australia Ltd., the troubled Australian entertainment and resort company. The Japanese company said it plans to invest more than $300 million to develop the property, including building two hotels, housing, the enlargement and redesign of the Monarch Beach Golf Course and construction of a public park.
The announcement of the sale comes two days after a scheduled public auction property was postponed to allow further negotiations between Qintex and its creditors.
The plan is to turn the golf course into a "world-championship" caliber course, said Robert Rockefeller, vice president of Monarch Bay Resort Inc., a development subsidiary formed by the Japanese company. He said Qintex's Laguna Niguel subsidiary, the former owner of the property, will be involved in the future development plans.
The acquisition price of more than $100 million includes the payment of about $60 million of debt owed to Balcor Co., the property's first mortgage holder. The rest will be paid to "associated interests," Rockefeller said. He declined to elaborate.
The Japanese company also plans to construct a public beach house and restaurant fronting the Monarch Beach Resort, Rockefeller said, adding that it will also extend the public access system to connect the two hotels to the Salt Creek Beach parking lot and trail systems.
"This development is far superior than previous proposals for the property," Rockefeller said. He also said that designs for the project will be submitted in three months and that construction should start in late 1991. Nippon Shinpan, Japan's largest consumer finance concern, said Yasuda Trust & Banking Company Ltd., a large Tokyo-based bank, will provide financing for the transaction.
Until March, Qintex had insisted that it would build a resort at Monarch Beach even while it was liquidating its other assets.