POST FALLS - Most of the trailers have been torn down at the former El Rancho Mobile Home Park that has been at Highway 41 and Mullan Avenue for the past 50 years.
Now a new era awaits at what has evolved into one of the busiest intersections in North Idaho.
Rod Plese, an owner of the 8.7-acre parcel, said the prime site is on the fast track to be developed into a shopping center.
Plans call for a "big box" anchor store such as a grocery chain or home improvement retailer that's supported by a variety of smaller businesses such as a gas station, restaurant or bank, he said.
Plese (pronounced Please) said there has been a lot of interest, but no tenants have beenannounced.
"Several people have approached us, but nothing is for certain yet," he said, adding that he can't comment on which companies are looking.
Plese said a few of the park's residents held out on moving out until November. They were told to move out by July 31 when a six-month notice of the park's closure was issued to the residents late last January.
Many of the trailers couldn't be moved.
If the home was built before June 15, 1976, under state law, it must go through a rehabilitation process, which can be cost-prohibitive in some cases. If the home is being moved into a city from the county, the roof must also have a 40-pound snow load, which can also add to the cost, along with required permits.
After the remaining trailers are demolished, 23 septic tanks will need to be pumped and pulled from the ground, Plese said. Then the soil will need to be reworked and compacted.
"We're on the home stretch," Plese said. "Once we took the property over (in December 2011), we dealt with a lot of adversity."
Once the site work is complete, Plese said the plan is to request annexation into the city, which could come as soon as February.
"As the city, we look forward to the day of having the site cleared off to where a nice development can go in there," Mayor Clay Larkin said. "It's a power corner."
The site has had multiple owners in recent years and some residents earlier said they figured the property would someday be developed, although the date remained cloudy.
Bob Kirkpatrick, who owned the property for 29 years, and RMM Investments sold it about six years ago for $3.32 million to a group of developers/investors, including Vandervert Developments.
Facing inevitable development of the site, some residents moved out in recent years. But about 45 of the 70 lots were still occupied when the notice was issued. Some residents said they were under the impression they would still have a few years to live there, especially with the slow economy.
The investor group split more than a year ago when an agreement was struck involving both the trailer park site and the River City Plaza across Highway 41, which was developed by the same group.