There were big developments Friday in the now defunct plan to extend the 710 Freeway.
Caltrans just sold the first of hundreds of homes, purchased decades ago, in preparation for the project, the NBC4 I-Team spoke to the new owners in South Pasadena.
The new owners were making it official within the last couple of weeks many of them long-term rental tenants of the homes who got quite a deal.
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"I didn't ever want to leave," said Suzanne Talbot, a new homeowner. "I love it here."
Today she doesn't have to, after four decades of renting this home.
"I had to buy it because it was my house," she said.
Talbot is one of the first people to purchase the homes at the center of a decades long fight to extend the 710 Freeway.
The sales process started two years ago after a surface extension was taken off the table. "With LA rent, who knows where we would end up," said Wendy Monroy, a new homeowner.
Monroy ended up in one of the four former Caltrans homes now sold, all for less than $240,000. These places appraised for nearly four times as much. One is just down the street from the Pasadena Tournament of Roses House.
These homes are being sold in a tiered system that prioritizes current longtime tenants who qualify for affordable housing. It was not an easy process. Of the first 42 homes on the sales block, Caltrans says four more are near closing and another five in litigation. Meanwhile, vacant lots that sold at auction are already seeing new construction, but they went for considerably more, up to $650,000.
After so many years, these new homeowners are now able to spruce up. Caltrans owns some 460 properties. Environmental reviews are needed on the freeway project before new homes can come on the market.
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