Caltrans begins selling homes seized for never-built freeway project

State sells five houses and multifamily lot along the 710 stub in South Pasadena

Caltrans' Tony Tavares; 217 Fremont Avenue and 1707 Meridian Avenue (Getty, Linkedin, Dave Knight Real Estate Team)
Caltrans' Tony Tavares; 217 Fremont Avenue and 1707 Meridian Avenue (Getty, Linkedin, Dave Knight Real Estate Team)

Caltrans, which seized hundreds of homes to make room for a never-built 710 Freeway extension through El Sereno, Pasadena and South Pasadena, is selling them.

The California Department of Transportation has sold four single-family homes and a multifamily lot with a bungalow at undisclosed addresses in South Pasadena, KTLA5 reported. 

The five properties, now in escrow, are expected to close this summer to undisclosed buyers. 

“These five historic homes have essentially been locked in time since the 1960s, sitting unoccupied,” KTLA’s Omar Lewis said.

The Caltrans listings were not immediately available by the Dave Knight Real Estate Team, which is handling sales. As of June 14, there was no listing price for any of the homes, though the market rate for similar housing in the area is upward of $2 million.

In an attempt to clear space for a planned expansion of the 710 Freeway, Caltrans seized 400 homes by eminent domain along a five-mile stretch in the 1960s, displacing hundreds of families.

That project never got off the ground and was formally canceled in 2018.

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The homes, in El Sereno, Pasadena and South Pasadena, were once in largely Black and low-income neighborhoods.

The decision to sell comes as Caltrans was mandated by law to dispose of the homes.

Activists have pushed for the homes to be occupied by families for years. In 2020, several of the El Sereno homes were taken over by homeless families, before they were evicted by the California Highway Patrol.

In September, the City of Pasadena hired a manager to head the development of nearly 50 acres of the once-planned extension of the 710 Freeway through the city, known as the 710 stub.

In what was deemed a win for local control in Pasadena, the California Transportation Commission returned the nearly 50-acre corridor back to the city a year ago, along with a payment of $5 million.

In 2018, Caltrans sold six homes to former tenants of the 460 homes along the 6.3-mile 710 Freeway extension route. 

— Dana Bartholomew

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