Thursday, December 31, 2009

Riverpark Bust

Wow, who could have predicted?

At the beginning of this decade, the developers of RiverPark in Oxnard looked at the vacant land, the asphalt plant and the run-down neighborhoods along the Santa Clara River and bet the area could almost be its own little new-suburban city. RiverPark would be a place where the people of 2010 would walk their kids to school, stroll through the neighborhood park, stop to buy organic produce from Whole Foods Market, and head home to chop it on their new granite countertops.

Today, RiverPark has about 800 occupied homes, rather than the 2,800 the plans call for at build-out. The shopping center sits vacant and fenced-off, construction equipment the only thing parked in its vast lots. The planned opening keeps getting pushed back, with “late 2010” the latest word from the developer, Shea Properties.

Be sure to read the comments for the different perspectives. Outsiders doing the Nelson Muntz "Hah hah!" The stuccos who lament their trusting the city. The denialists who can't even see reality. Past Riverpork posts here.

The thing that will kill the project will ultimately all come down to a failure of government. Yes, built in a flood plain. Yes, too dense. Yes, taxes too high regardless of home prices. All direct consequences of incompetent leadership at the municipal level. It's too late for Riverpark. Will the city wake up in time to save themselves from Wagon Wheel?

And the hits will keep coming. 800 occupied residences are not enough to service the HOA or Mello-Roos debts encumbered on their behalf. I wonder how many understand they are joint and several liable for the entire amount and not just the pro rata share currently being assessed? If you think the current 2.6% plus municipal burden is excessive, just wait. Riverpark will be a text book study for generations to come.


TJandTheBear said...

Riverpark will be a text book study for generations to come.

Can't wait for your text book, Professor Dawg!

sm_landlord said...

It really is too bad about Riverpark. It could have been developed into a nice residential community - it's been done in a few places in Oxnard. But as soon as they went for high-density and low elevation right on the river, they blew it.

To tell the truth, I'm even more disappointed with the new developments out by Mandalay Bay. I looked at buying a place in Westport when they went on the market, but was taken aback by the zero lot lines, the colocated condos, and the silly prices. Then they finished Seabridge, and I nearly lost it when I saw what they had built. Full-on condofication, zero lots, shared "amenities", stainless & granite facades over cheap construction, basically really expensive apartments with horrifying Mello-Roos fees plus HOAs.
It could have been a community like Newport/Balboa, but instead they built a poor man's Marina Del Rey, but without the separation.

I notice that someone was about to build another development right up Harbor from Mandalay Bay, but it looks like they stopped before they got past the grading operations. I sure hope they don't turn that property into another high-density low-rent nightmare as they did with Seabridge.

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w said...

It was depressing taking care of the berries planted in what became Seabridge, White sails, etc. That was the best farmland in the county. The farm got smaller each season. I still take care of the vegetables on the next farm over above Wooley Rd. and it is the richest soil I have ever seen. It beds up without clods and the plants pop up perfectly even. And not a rock in it. Apparently the only thing saving it is that the owner has no interest in selling to developers. What are the odds his eventual heirs share his view?

I remember going into the White Sails models when they opened and couldn't believe how narrow those places were. The whole townhouse was just a bunch of narrow rooms connected by stairs sitting above a garage. You drive past them now and there are permanent for sale signs out on the balconies.

Rob, I notice that there was a whole pack of dawgs commenting on the story in the VC Star including pokeydog and olddog. Apparently dawgs are drawn to the topic.

Agantx said...

Happy New Year to all of you! I have a new post and hope to post more often. Again have a wonderful next decade! :)

Mike Johnson said...

I'm glad I checked out the comments on the Star article -- more often than not, I regret reading them -- because I hadn't discovered your blog until today.

Keep it up!

Rob Dawg said...

Thanks Mike and welcome.

The comments at the Star are pretty amazing. You can just imagine the email sent out to all the homeowners from the HOA ordering them to protect their investment with a reply. Notice how they ll hit the same points and never have a negative thing to say? Astroturfing at its best.

They are in complete denial.

Kimberly said...

I know about this problem of occupied residencies. I was in Argentina last year and there was a park where all the poor went to live, even though it was a public space. buenos aires apartments are great and affordable for tourists, but not for citizens, and sometimes that is what causes the problem.