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Orange County Focus

NEWPORT BEACH : Bayside Residents Get Loan to Buy Land

September 18, 1993|BOB ELSTON

Two days after the deadline, the residents of Bayside Village Mobile Home Park on Friday succeeded in making a $1.3-million down payment on the purchase of the land beneath their coaches, according to their attorney.

Just when it appeared that the mobile home owners were about to lose their chance to buy the park from the Irvine Co., a lender came forward Thursday with the $11.3 million needed to execute the deal, said Gerald Gibbs, who is representing the park's 265 residents.

Irvine Co. officials, who granted the homeowners two extra days, said they will review the lender's paperwork and the payment submitted by Gibbs on Monday.

"We will determine on Monday whether they have sufficiently satisfied the requirements" of the purchase agreement, said Dawn McCormick, Irvine Co. spokeswoman.

The purchase preempts the park's leaseholder, DeAnza Assets Corp. of Beverly Hills, from buying the land.

The park's residents, most of whom are senior citizens on fixed incomes, said they feared that DeAnza would increase rents and drive them from their homes.

DeAnza officials have already notified residents of rent adjustments ranging from a 47% increase to a 6% decrease that will go into effect in January. They have denied that they are trying to evict tenants.

The average rent at the park is $870 a month and tenants will be required to pay several hundred dollars more to pay for the loan.

By owning the park, the residents, in essence, become both the owners and the tenants, giving them more influence on rental rates.

But DeAnza still holds an 18-year lease on the property and will continue to collect monthly rent payments from the residents.

"The Irvine Co. realized it is better to sell to us than selling to an outside company," said Bil Gekas, a Bayside Village resident who is also the head of a committee to purchase the park. "The Irvine Co. cares what happens here. That is why they did this deal."

But it was a mad scramble right to the end.

Earlier this week, Newport Beach officials indicated to residents that the city would not issue a bond on their behalf to finance the purchase.

And as Irvine Co. prepared to sell the park to DeAnza on Wednesday, several dozen residents picketed the Irvine Co. headquarters to ask for another chance to come up with the money.

"We had a little confusion," said Gibbs. "We had to go out and push, push, push to get the money into one account."

The $11.3-million purchase price includes $7.8 million for the 26-acre park and $3.5 million for the adjacent marina.

The deal comes with the restriction that the Bayside Village must remain a rental park. If the land is divided up and converted to a resident-owned park, the Irvine Co. would get an additional $4 million.

As a last hurdle, the transaction must close escrow by Sept. 27, officials said.

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