I had retired in March of 2000 after creating several successful web sites geared towards surfing. After several mergers and acquisitions, it ultimately became what is now known as Surfline. Many of you on the coast will know the name. If you surf, then absolutely you will know the name.
Being a ex-dot-commer, I bought an RV and my wife and I began to travel. Once back from our first journey, I searched for RV storage. What a disaster. Most of the RV storage in Orange County California was an obvious after-thought. In back of a building, in a field somewhere. So I ask you, would you park a new RV worth more than a Ferrari in a field in back of a building? I think not. So it struck me, why not build an RV storage facility? So I began that journey. Three years later, with 15 cities denying the construction of RV storage, and bidding on 32 different properties and losing I was exhausted, more so, frustrated.
So while I was stuck in your typical Orange County traffic, it occurred to me, "why not build enclosed storage, and sell them as condominiums"? After much investigation and reviews by my attorney, I was given the green light on the concept. The first city I approached with this concept, being Beaumont California, accepted the idea with open arms. They saw the potential for excessive property tax revenue on the condominium garages.
Fast forward three years, and construction was a complete nightmare. I had no idea this was going to be so difficult. The City and the City inspectors were relentless with changes and upcharges to the project. I went way over budget, way over completion time. I really felt the City was “doing me dirty”. Guess what? They were. They charged me $143,000 for my dump station permit, $43,000 for a back flow device mandated by the City, built by the City Managers company in Banning, and $360,000 to regrade and repave Maple Ave, as they wanted the street lowered by 3'. I am certain other develpers reading this can relate.
The FBI was involved in serious investigations with the City of Beaumont. In 2018, the FBI acted and took over the City and shut down City Hall, and raided the homes and offices of those suspected of fraud. 43 million dollars of fraud. The same people that made my construction life so miserable, are now facing some really serious charges. I have always said, “ I might be broke after this fiasco, but at least I am not in Jail”.
See - Six Jailed in $43 Million Beaumont Public Corruption Case
Beaumont officials plead guilty in $43M embezzlement case
7 former top officials of Beaumont charged with corruption
So much for my first project, which by the way, sold out and has tripled in condominium values. I fought hard, and won.
After recovering from mind bending effort in finishing the Beaumont Project, I took some time off. I had to, as I was emotionally fried.
My wife and I after returning home from the beach, found my 16 year old son laying on the garage floor, with grey skin and blue ear lobes. I knew instantly that he was in cardiac arrest. I started CPR and Michelle called 911. The police and fire showed up in less than two minutes. (I am tearing up writing this). He was transported to Hoag in Newport Beach. He suffered two additional heart attacks that day. You never want to witness a Code Blue in a hospital, it is terrifying. He was given a 10% chance to live with a heart transplant. Something a parent never wants to hear, but my wife and I were faced with it. No, there were no drugs involved. That was proven by the various test given to him.
I was surrounded by Social Workers, Chaplins, Police, Priests and Nurses, expecting my son to die, and to support me when it ultimately happens. You have no idea how dark, dark really is until you experience the real possibility your son is about to die.
Fortunately, Hoag a week before my son arrived, received a new device called an Impella. It is a tiny motor implanted in the heart that takes the stress off of your heart so you can recover from a severe heart attack. There is a right sided Impella and a left sided Impella. My son received both, as he had what is called a Bi-Ventricular failure, meaning both sides of his heart failed at the same time. Extremely rare, in fact there is only one reported case like this in an adolescent in history. So. You can watch this video and witness the recovery this miracle child brough forth. Even his doctors all agreed, it was divine intervention. (Keep a tissue handy)
By the way, he did recover and is dong fine.
Young Athlete’s Heart Recovers Following Cardiac Arrest During Workout
After a few years getting my son back into the world, and dealling with PTSD that effected our entire family, I decided to pick up where I left off, and continue with the construction and promotion of Garage Condominiums. At this point, there were a few new projects popping up across the nation. As it turns out, many people were watching the progress and ultimate success of the Beaumont project. That seemed to launch this concept into almost mainstream America.
I noted there was a new project in Palm Springs that was just getting off the ground. I called the developer, Dave Gandolfo, and we later met for lunch and discussed and compared our ideas. Later, I came on board with Dave and Monstore Garages was born. We sold out phase 1 long before construction completed, and later sold out phase 2, before we broke ground. The stage has been set for a very successful concept.
Not only had the Garage Condos sold out quickly, they appreciated almost 20% while under construction. We never saw that coming.
At about the time I was wrapping up the marketing phase of Palm Springs, I received a call from Mike Lyon, a developer who was building garage condos in Prescott Arizona, and Coachella California, Both projects were vertical and moving forward nicely. Mike and I put together a marketing plan and relationship that lead to the sell out of the Prescott property, and the sell out of two phases before construction completion in Coachella, California.
Both projects turned out to be roaring successes. I sprained my arm patting myself on the back though. Truth be known Mike has assembled a great team from concept to construction execution. Without them, this may not have been as successful as it turned out to be. Both of is project have set the bar to a new level.
Last year on our way to Lake Tahoe and points beyond, we stopped in Minden Nevada and pretty much fell in love with the people and its location to the Sierras. I am a wannabe fisherman and outdoorsman, but being from Southern California, the opportunities are few and far between. There is always Big Bear, but I have a problem with cactus mixed in with evergreens. It doesn’t seem natural. Minden seems to have it all. Beautiful scenery, moderate climate, and only a 20 minute drive to Lake Tahoe. Perfect.
While in Lake Tahoe, I was asking around about storage for RV's and our boat. Well, as it turns out, the storage is hard to find, and is seasonal, and is VERY expensive. Further, Lake Tahoe is not very developer friendly, especially around the north shore. There are many restrictions that make it very difficult for a small time Mom and Pop developer such as myself to even think about developing in God’s country. So I discovered that many people are renting storage in Carson City and areas south, to include Minden. Minden however, does not have much Industrial zoned land that would be compatible with our type of construction. However, I did located a suitable parcel where we hope to build Monstore Garages, Minden – Tahoe. . The exact location will be revealed soon once we close escrow and submit to the County our plans. Engineering and architecture is going on now.
I am generally an open book as to my designs and ideas, but lately that has not served me well. Many developers (this is where the wannabes come in) call me, asking for a meeting, then executing a “brain pick” as I call it. "How much, how long, garage sizes, construction type, Blah Blah Blah", then never hearing from them again. They are like seagulls – They swoop in on you, eat your food, and shit on you when they leave.
Having gotten that off my chest, you can look forward to a weekly blog detailing our progress or lack thereof. I did a similar blog (before Blog was even a word) on my Beaumont project. I took it down as it exposed some pretty embarrassing faux pas, but I may repost it at some point in the future, since so much time has passed it is beyond embarrassing and falls more into historic perspective.
Thanks for reading. More later.