In Cal Heights this week, buyers can purchase a lot — and a little more

Are you a couple hundred thousand dollars shy of being able to afford a medium-priced house in the ever-increasing Long Beach real estate market? Maybe try lowering your expectations. For the apparently reasonable price of $450,000 you can be the owner of a gently-used parking lot on Wardlow Road and Lewis Avenue on the southern rim of California Heights, where the median home value now is about $660,000.

True, this plot of land doesn’t have most of the amenities you’d find in a $660,000 home, but if parking is an issue, you can scratch that item off your list. The 9,687-square-foot property will easily accommodate 26 vehicles.

It’s listed by Realtor Eric Schmidt, who typically lists high-dollar homes in and around Newport Beach, but is dipping his toe into the parking lot game as a favor to the Bixby Knolls family that has owned the lot for years.

And if you think you can just sashay into Cal Heights and snap up the asphalt lot located next to a boarded-up liquor store (which is nice, because the lot doesn’t currently get a lot of traffic, giving the buyer ample space for personal vehicles), you’ll need to rejigger your thoughts, because you’re going to have to get in a bit of a line to make the purchase.

Schmidt says an offer has been accepted by Joe Awaida, the father of Joseph Awaida who was killed, along with his wife and their young son, on Halloween by an allegedly drunk driver in nearby Los Cerritos.

Joe Awaida owns Joe’s Auto Center two doors to the east of the lot and had made his offer before the tragic incident that killed his son, who worked at the car-repair shop. Schmidt is allowing the family some time to grieve as well as to make future plans for the business. Joe was intending to use the lot for overflow vehicles at his popular business.


Joe’s Auto Center is a potential buyer for the lot on Wardlow Road to use for overflow parking for its customers. Courtesy photo.

Another buyer has an offer as well, if the Awaidas decide not to buy it.

So, feel free to make another offer and wait for the outcome. But meanwhile continue to squirrel away your spare change and refrain from avocado toast long enough to save enough for a house in the area, although the pickings are frequently slim in the historic Heights. Currently, your choices are worlds apart — one has a price tag of $1.25 million, and the other is considerably cheaper than a parking lot at $279,000. That one’s a one-bedroom, one-bath condo in the Royal Elm building at 3452 Elm Ave. The pricier place is a two-bedroom, two-bath home at 3540 Orange Ave. It’s remodeled and upgraded.

This two-bedroom home and two additional units in the rear on Orange Avenue is listed at $1.25 million. Listing photo.

But wait! If you order now, you also get the two back units, both remodeled and upgraded in this last-gasping year. That includes tankless water heaters, laundry, dual-pane windows and air-conditioning.

Those are all the properties you have to choose from in Cal Heights. There’s one for every pocketbook.

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Tim Grobaty is a columnist and opinions editor for the Long Beach Post. He began his newspaper career at the Press-Telegram in 1976 as a copy boy and moved on to feature writer, music critic, TV critic, copy editor and daily columnist. He’s the author of several books, including I’m Dyin’ Here, and he lives in Long Beach.