New owners have signed the deed on a 1.24-acre parcel at A and 2nd streets in Crescent City that will be the site of a new condominium complex.
They have also purchased about 300 acres of land in Smith River once belonging to Hank Westbrook and say they intend to develop a 5-star resort in the style of the Four Seasons and St. Regis hotels with an 18-hole Par 3 PGA golf course and a luxury retirement community.
The hotel, golf course and retirement community will be called Pelican Heights Resort, said Jason Roe, a Los Angeles-area based investor who, along with his wife Julie Yim, has been working to purchase the Smith River property for more than a year.
“The beauty of the area, the pristine coastline and the fact that it doesn’t have jobs makes it an ideal candidate for an active retirement community,” Roe said, adding that he and his wife own a total of 14 parcels in Smith River. “Active retirees are bringing in large wealth from their retirement and they need a place to go game fishing and hike redwood trails. The area is rich in natural attraction and resources and this will balance out the lack of jobs and lack of employment with tourism as a catalyst to reinvigorate the economy.”
Meanwhile, the couple has dubbed the 39-unit condominium complex planned for 200 A Street in Crescent City “Vision” and say they will break ground on the project in two months. The property was once the site of the old A Street clinic.
Roe said he and his wife purchased the property privately through their attorney. Working with Bill Wigley, owner of Ming Tree Realty, Roe said he and his wife signed the last notarized document and the deeds two days ago. The project has already been approved by the city and the California Coastal Commission, he said.
“We will proceed with the intention of getting the plans brought back up to current code and into the ground within two months,” Roe said. “It’s going to be an ultra luxury condominium and the name of it is Vision. It’s a Vision of Del Norte County.”
Vision is the beginning of a five-year plan that will culminate the development of Pelican Heights Resort, Roe said. He said he envisions the resort to have a minimal footprint and be environmentally friendly.
According to Wigley, the Smith River property identified as the site for the hotel, golf course and retirement community is just south of the Spyglass development off Ocean View Drive in Smith River northeast of Lucky 7 Casino. Wigley, who was born at Seaside Hospital in 1957 and graduated from Del Norte High School in 1975, said he was excited about the possibility of bringing back a level of vibrancy that hasn’t existed in Del Norte County for a long time.
“No one was wealthy, but we had shops, we had activity and things and I came back to Crescent City 30 years later and bought Ming Tree and the town is not the same. It’s not a lovely vibrant town,” he said. “When I came back five years ago and bought Ming Tree one of my goals was to obviously sell properties, but to bring a different level of professionalism to what we do here.”
Roe said he and his wife have informed the Del Norte County Board of Supervisors as well as the Crescent City mayor of their plans, which also includes a non-denominational spiritual center called Utopia. He said the street names Pelican Bay Drive and Skyview Terrace been approved by county officials.
According to Wigley, Roe and Yim are working with Sotheby’s Private Client Group, which is the listing agent for the Smith River property.
“My experience with Del Norte County is in past years we’ve had people come in, a knight in shining armor, and tell us what we need to do and then they leave,” Wigley said. “I think Jason and Julia are the type, they might ride in on a white horse and in shining armor, but they’re more than willing to get off the horse, roll up their sleeves and make this community what it could be.”
Reach Jessica Cejnar at firstname.lastname@example.org .