Mobile Enterprises
Transforming the Manufactured Housing Industry 

MISSION GARDENS RESORT AND RV PARK

Mission Gardens Resort and RV Park (formerly Mission Mobile Park) is located at 930 West Expressway 83 in Mission, TX. It is an ‘over 55’ resort retirement community. At the time of acquisition in the spring of 2002, the park was completely run down. The streets were a connected patchwork of repaired and unrepaired potholes, landscaping was completely overgrown, the perimeter fences were falling down, utility poles were leaning and broken, water lines were leaking, sewer lines were clogged, many of the tenant units were in terrible condition, stray dogs and cats were everywhere, the clubhouse and billiard hall roofs were sagging, the swimming pool mechanics were worn out and working intermittently, the pool itself was surrounded by a rusting chain link fence and nasty stained and faded blue astroturf. The bathrooms were a mess, the laundry facility was dirty and full of junky washers and dryers…there wasn’t even a park office or signage of any type. The park entrance featured a one acre patch of dirt and weeds. It was not a lovely sight to see...
 

 
 
 
 
 
 

To make matters worse, the expressway frontage road had been completely removed in front of the park in order to make way for the new expanded expressway that was under construction. The drop from the park entrance to where the new frontage road was being worked on was about two feet...making it impossible for RVs to enter or leave the park for a period of months. The icing on the cake was the constant wind from the southeast which was blowing dirt off of the expressway construction right into the park. The scheduled completion date of highway construction was 2005. Why would anyone want to buy this property? Because under all of the construction dust and disrepair was a real…and unique…diamond in the rough.

Most south Texas parks were built in the 1980s to accommodate the RVs of the day. These RVs were much shorter and skinnier than today's units and used 15-30 amps of electricity. Mission Gardens was originally constructed as a mobile home park rather than an RV park which means that the spaces are long and wide and able to accommodate any size RV, and most of the spaces can accommodate 80 foot manufactured homes. The sewer, water and electrical lines in the park were all built to handle manufactured homes, which means that they are all larger (2" water lines, 6" sewer lines, 200 amp electric service). With a complete overhaul of the park and a new expressway there was the potential to turn this property into a four star resort capable of accommodating nearly any type of unit. This alone was enough of a reason to purchase the park, but we knew something else that made this property even more attractive. By talking to the expressway construction workers we learned that the new expressway off ramp was going to be 3/10 of a mile before the park entrance, and that the new expressway on ramp was going to be 50 feet after the park entrance. A four star park on five star property...we quickly made a full price offer.

There was a tremendous amount of work to do, and we were excited to get started on day one…literally. Pavers were scheduled to resurface all of the roads starting on the day after ownership changed hands. No one at the park was informed…we showed up with the pavers and announced the ownership change at that time. We were warmly received to say the least. With the roads resurfaced, the tone was set. Further improvement plans were presented to residents, and we moved ahead with the park’s complete overhaul.

We started with the perimeter fence. To get to the falling down fences we first had to cut down all of the overgrown weeds, bushes and trees just to get to them. We filled ten 20-yard haul off dumpsters full of brush and debris in the first month. In all around 50% of the fence required complete replacement. The rest could be repaired. With the perimeter fences rebuilt and a new entrance fence installed, we added automatic gates to the front and back entrances to the park. With that accomplished we we set up ‘have a heart traps’ and collected all of the stray animals for relocation.

Next we got to work on the landscaping within the park…another five haul off containers full of brush and debris. Once all of the overgrowth was removed we were left with little grass and a lot of dirt patches. We seeded the park with grass and within a couple of months it was green everywhere. What a difference already, and we were just getting started.

With the park cleared of debris and overgrowth we could access the entire park and could now focus on infrastructure repairs. Water and sewer lines were dug up, repaired and replaced, new utility poles were installed, meter boxes replaced and concrete pads and driveways repaired.

While all of the above was going on, the tenants were put on notice that they would have to bring their units into compliance with the park’s new rules and regulations. Within six months all units must be properly skirted and may not have rusty, faded or chipping paint on their exteriors or roofs. Only chairs, tables and bar-b-que equipment were allowed outside of units…all other items must be properly stored inside of the unit or storage shed. No unregistered or inoperable vehicles were allowed in the park. Vehicle repairs would no longer be permitted in the park. Pets must be leashed at all times.  Loans were offered to anyone who could not afford repairs and upgrades. Even with financial assistance available, we expected to receive resistance…and resistance we received. We did what we could to work with everyone, but in the end we were forced to ask around 20 residents to move out for non compliance. It wasn’t just the poor condition of these folks' units that resulted in termination of their leases, but also the attitude and behavior of these tenants. These ‘bad apples’ were causing all sorts of trouble and were making life difficult for other residents. They were not missed and the community was a happier place without them.

It took us all summer to complete the above work and we were now ready to overhaul the clubhouse, billiard hall, swimming pool, shuffleboard courts bathrooms and park entrance. Additionally we were ready to install a new 2000 square foot office, a new mail room and a 30 foot neon sign at the park entrance. The plan was to create a two acre common area garden surrounding these facilities. This common area would eventually become the largest cactus garden in the Rio Grande Valley complete with stone walkways, ponds, fountains, palapas shaded benches, flowers, a life size steel bull and many ceramic decorations and potted plants. There are a wide variety of plants and flowers intermingled with hundreds of cactus, many of which are 10 - 15 feet tall.

What was once a dump of a park situated in front of a four year highway construction project is today a gorgeous four star park (independently rated) with no deferred maintenance located on prime real estate and full of happy residents. With a beautiful swimming pool area, hot tub, billard hall and league, shuffleboard courts and league, guest computer, free wi-fi, library, book club bingo, pot luck, cookouts, ice cream socials, arts and crafts classes, sewing room, cards, coffee and doughnuts, live music and other planned and unplanned activities Mission Gardens truly is a summer camp for retirees.