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Developer stalls on road to Mandalay Bay

By   /   Friday, December 19th, 2008  /   Comments Off on Developer stalls on road to Mandalay Bay

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Plans for the North Shore at Mandalay Bay subdivision in Oxnard screeched to a halt last month after the property went into foreclosure.

In the heyday of the housing boom, owner Trimark Pacific-Mandalay Bay took out a loan from California National Bank for $65.9 million for the development of 292 single-family residences at the North Shore at Mandalay Bay. The proposed subdivision plan called for three neighborhoods of single-family homes on almost 90 acres at the northeast corner of Harbor Boulevard and West Fifth Street in Oxnard.

But the project didn’t proceed as planned, and California National filed against Trimark in a case to be heard by Ventura Superior Court Judge Henry Walsh on Jan. 20.

According to the Nov. 17 notice of default filing, the bank is asking for the right to enter into possession of the property, the appointment of a receiver, the receiver to complete construction of the property and contract with a rental agent to handle rentals and leases of the property.

The filing also called for an injunction preventing the defendant from transferring any monies received, foreclosure and sale of the property and $59 million. The bank also asked for continuation of the environmental remediation, which was necessary before homes could be built on the former petroleum dump.

From the mid-1950s through 1981, the site was operated as two permitted oil field waste disposal facilities. Oil field waste materials consisting of drilling muds and cuttings, tailings, sand, formation water and residual oil were land-farmed and then disposed of on the property during this time period.

“The remediation was completed in fall so Trimark could build,” said Jeannie Garcia, public information officer for California’s Department of Toxic Substances Control. “But the property is now bank-owned, and it is our understanding at the DTSC is that the bank doesn’t intend to do anything more with the property. They’re going to leave it the way it is.”

A groundwater pump and treatment system was put in place during the remediation, which the Department of Toxic Substances Control is now responsible for overseeing.

“We’re still very happy that the contaminants were removed from the soil and groundwater,” Garcia said. “Even though the property is no longer going to be developed, it’s still much better off than it was before, and so is the surrounding area.”

The project would have surrounded the only existing population of the Ventura marsh milk-vetch, a native plant that has been on the endangered species list since 2001. Some of the $65.9 million loan was slotted to go toward the creation of a 10-acre preservation area for the plant, the result of a lawsuit brought against the project by the Channel Islands chapter of the Native Plant Society in 2000.

The planned homes ranged in size from 2,200 to 4,300 square feet, with three to five bedrooms. Prices were expected to range from about $700,000 to more than $1 million.

“It’s disheartening to see projects like this that aren’t completed,” said Nancy Lindholm, Oxnard Chamber of Commerce president and chief executive officer.

Neither California National Bank nor Trimark Pacific representatives returned phone calls or e-mails from the Business Times.

Torrance-based California National Bank is owned by FBOP Corp. and operates 68 offices, with locations in Ventura and Simi Valley.


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