State transportation officials appear to be throwing in a long-delayed towel and parting ways with a collection of properties along the never-built extension of the 710 Freeway through Pasadena.
Caltrans announced Monday that it will begin selling the 460 parcels that it bought up along the proposed route more than a half-century ago. The agency will start with 42 single-family homes in Pasadena, South Pasadena, and El Sereno—many of which are occupied.
In a press release, Caltrans explained that it has found a contractor to manage the sales of the properties and will be giving current residents the first shot at purchasing them. The homes will be sold at fair market value, but qualifying longterm residents and those earning under 150 percent of area median income will be able to buy the properties at significantly more affordable prices.
Even if current occupants are unable to purchase the homes, the agency will attempt to sell to nonprofits and private buyers willing to keep them on as tenants. The homes vary significantly in both scale and value—we looked at Redfin estimates for several of the homes and found at least one valued at over $1 million. The agency marks 11 of the 42 residences as historic properties.
“The selling of these properties—that have been owned by the state for six decades—is about keeping our promise to the community to help it create a neighborhood they can be proud of,” California State Transportation Agency Secretary Brian Kelly said in the release.
The sales may mark the beginning of the end for the ill-fated extension of the 710 between the 10 and 210 freeways. Caltrans is planning on selling off the 460 properties in three phases. In this first phase, the agency is selling that would be unaffected by project alternatives that are still on the table.
Starting next year, the agency will sell properties that are within the scope of alternatives, but that can be safely parted with anyway.
Remaining options for the route include a light rail line, bus rapid transit, and a freeway tunnel that would cost billions of dollars to construct. As LA Daily News notes, though, the tunnel was notably left off the list of projects to be funded by the voter-approved Measure M sales tax hike.
Architect Stefanos Polyzoides, of Pasadena-based firm Moule & Polyzoides, recently suggested another alternative: developing new housing along the route—though any new options at this point are likely to face plenty of criticism from residents and stakeholders who have long taken sides in the bitter controversy over the freeway.