[Updated] The city has purchased a home from Caltrans that was previously seized to make room for the 710 freeway extension.
The three-bedroom home on Waverly Street in District 6 is currently being renovated.
The home cost the city $305,000 but would have gone for more than $800,000 if it was sold at market value, according to Councilman Steve Madison.
“I think that the lion’s share of the credit goes to our tremendous housing director, Bill Huang, who really is passionate about affordable housing,” Madison said.
After the renovations are completed, The rooms will be rented to three women.
According to Madison, the tenants will probably move into the house in April.
Huang received the green light from the City Manager that allowed the duo to negotiate with Caltrans. The state agency was open to the idea because the property was vacant and off the beaten path.
According to Huang, it was hard to get information about the house.
“It just it took a long time in the beginning,” Huang said. “We couldn’t get into the house, so we had to wait a long time to be able to do that. But finally, when we were able to do that, we were able to come to a good agreement with Caltrans and the transaction went through pretty seamlessly. So it was good. It just took a couple years to get there.”
In the early 1960s, Caltrans seized more than 500 properties in Pasadena, South Pasadena and the El Sereno neighborhood of Los Angeles through eminent domain in order to build a surface connector. After that effort died, transit officials attempted to go underground with a two-lane, barrel-shaped 4.5-mile-long tunnel, which also failed.
Local politicians, residents and activists have been calling on Caltrans to sell the properties, most of which need renovations, at affordable rates.
Caltrans has been renting out homes along the former 710 freeway extension corridor for decades and is now in the process of selling them to the longtime tenants who rented them, including nonprofit organizations.
The state agency and the city is also at the beginning of a process that could result in the Caltrans turning over the 50 acre 710 stump between Pasadena and St. Johns avenues.
The area housed minority areas before the homes were seized to make way for the freeway extension.
The city is attempting to build more affordable housing units to offset skyrocketing housing costs.
“It might be that we could acquire those homes and then sell them at market value and then use those monies to provide even more affordable housing,” Madison said. “I think we’ve got to look at these properties, you know, sort of one by one. The city does have staff that’s doing that and is trying to nudge Caltrans along, certainly in terms of the vacant ones to relinquish them as soon as possible.”