The unsightly trash-strewn yards and broken windows at the Oaks Ranch mobile home park off Anglin Drive should soon be a distant memory.
Rockwall developer David Zulejkic recently purchased the 4.2-acre park from the Independent Bank of Texas and plans to give it a complete makeover.
He wants to create a gated community with a playground, newly-paved roads, fire hydrants, a stone wall bordering the front of the property and larger, well-kept mobile homes.
He is also changing the name, to Seven Oaks Mobile Home Community.
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Zulejkic purchased an additional acre of vacant land from the city as well; he declined to say how much he paid.
“Cities are scared of mobile home parks, but if they are run correctly, it can be a huge asset,” he said.
Zulejkic, who has renovated other mobile home parks in cities including White Settlement and Dallas, said he couldn’t have moved forward with the project without the cooperation of Forest Hill officials.
“I get emotional just thinking about it. I’ve never seen council members so concerned. They have a heart to turn that city around,” Zulejkic said.
City Manager Sheyi Ipaye said improving the mobile home park will help Forest Hill as a whole.
The city had discussed condemning the property.
Zulejkic said he is platting the lots and getting the necessary permits so he can start on the construction, which he said should get underway in about six months.
The renovations will cost approximately $700,000.
The property is currently valued at $278,800, according to the Tarrant Appraisal District, but Zulejkic said that will only go up as improvements are made.
Zulejkic said he owns 15 mobile homes in the park and plans to purchase 35 additional homes with three bedrooms and two baths. Residents can either rent or own, he said.
Society tends to “look down” on mobile home parks, but often, that is all that someone who works as a day laborer or at a convenience store can afford, he said.
At the same time, when residents start seeing new roads and other improvements, they often plant flowers and keep their homes in good condition.
“Doing good is contageous,” Zulejkic said.
Zulejkic said he will not tolerate drug use or other illegal activity on his property, and he expects residents to follow the rules.
“If I can give them some sort of structure and some rules they can adhere to, I am helping people improve their lives by giving them a better place to live,” he said.