Watching the last of the empty mobile homes getting hauled out of the once-bustling Whitehaven Senior Adult Mobile Home Park on Monday morning, former owner Orin White shrugged his shoulders and smiled.
“Yeah, it’s time,” said the 61-year-old Hobe Sound resident, sitting in his truck in the 30-acre former squash and mango farm.
His parents Bob and Loretta built the mobile home park in the 1960s when Military Trail was two lanes and a dirt road.
“The pipes, the electricity, everything’s all old,” White said. “Even the stops signs are worn out.”
Bob died in 1997 and Loretta died two years later. The White siblings — four brothers and two sisters who grew up in Lake Park — took over.
The Whites sold the property last year to Jupiter-based FLF 1030 LLC. Jupiter approved a plan in October to build 351 apartments and 60,000 square feet of retail and medical office space. Plans filed with the town show Josh Simon as the project manager.
The plans call for 4 acres of retail-medical space along Military Trail. The property, which often floods during heavy rains, would have a 2.5-acre retention pond. Plans also call for a clubhouse with a pool and a dog park-playground.
The town must approve building plans before construction can begin.
The last Whitehaven residents left about three weeks ago. What was once a busy place for residents and snowbirds is now empty except for a few remaining vacant mobile homes with plastic over the windows and old Christmas lights, flower pots and lawn furniture scattered on the grass.
Before the sale, tenants paid between $350 and $400 a month. That included water, sewer and garbage collection.
“And we did the lawn maintenance,” said Bob White, 64, one of the White brothers and an Indiantown resident. “It was a great place. Everybody knew everybody.”
The park originally had a clubhouse on the east side. The clubhouse was taken down when Military Trail was widened and paved. And the mango trees that plopped down softball-sized fruits on the park’s southwest corner were cut down as more mobile homes moved in, said Bob.
“Boy, there was nothing nastier when you stepped on one of those mangoes,” Bob said.
The two brothers recalled pouring the original concrete slabs for the mobile home lots, now flat white rectangles dotting the grassy property.
“People used to ask my father why he didn’t rent a back hoe to spread the concrete. He would laugh, point to us boys and say, ‘Why should I? I got them boys,’ ” Bob said, and the two brothers chuckled at the memory.