The ABCs of Westside real estate

Eight years before Long Beach became a city, the Cerritos Colony sprung into life in the area near Willow Street in what’s now part of West Long Beach. A Wilmington farmer named L.T. Hayes bought 40 acres along the river from Jotham Bixby, owner of Rancho Los Cerritos and a couple of years later the Colony consisted of about 20 pioneering families growing apples, pears, corn, sugar beets, squash and alfalfa in this little Eden.

Just past the turn of the century, closer to the coast, the land west of Long Beach was a battleground between San Pedrans, who proclaimed the land as East San Pedro, and Long Beachers, who declared it to be the property of Long Beach. The matter was adjudicated in Long Beach’s favor and in 1911, the Port of Long Beach was founded, resulting in an explosion of industry, as well as housing for port and military families.

The Westside is still largely industrial today, especially in the areas near the port. Most of the housing is north of Pacific Coast Highway, and many of the nearly 37,000 residents of the Westside’s 90810 ZIP code live on the area’s alphabet avenues: Adriatic, Baltic, Caspian, Delta, Easy, Fashion and Gale.

Homes on the Westside are relatively inexpensive, compared to much of Long Beach, a fact attributable to varying degrees to the pollution and noise from nearby rail yards and freeways with heavy truck traffic, a lack of a strong retail center, a paucity of open green space and a perceived, if not real, sense of isolation from the Long Beach that’s on the other side of the L.A. River and 710 Freeway.

Starting on Adriatic Avenue, there’s a three-bedroom, two-bath house offered “as is” for $439,000 at 2381 Adriatic. “As is” means you’re going to want to bring a scrub brush and a can of Ajax with you if you land this property.

Back in black. One of the bedrooms in the “as is” home at 2381 Adriatic Ave. Listing photo.

The house looks OK from the curb, but the wheels start spinning off once you enter the abode. The decor isn’t for everyone, though it could appeal to people who like their bedroom walls all black. And there are some other issues, including a sort of a Cowboy-rustic-Gothic family room. But if you’re handy at demolition and reconstruction and know a guy who owns a paint store, have at it.

By contrast, a fairly eccentrically designed home at 2439 Delta Ave., is pretty much ready to go. In addition to its quirky and handsome looks, the $580,000 two-bedroom, one-bath home has new floors, doors, windows, roof, electrical and plumbing, as well as a new kitchen. It was built in 1929, but it’s practically all-21st century now.

This uniquely designed home at 2439 Delta Ave. was built in 1929, but it’s practically brand-new now. Listing photo.

The home is amply sized at 1,106 square feet, on a roomy 5,060 square-foot lot.

At the top of the Westside market is a two-story, five-bedroom, three-bath home at 2432 Caspian Ave.

This top-of-the-market home at 2432 Caspian Ave. is offered at $642,000. Listing photo.

This 2,652 square-foot residence has nice interior features including scalloped archways and original hardwood floors along with more modern touches as central air-conditioning and heat and a master ensuite with a Jacuzzi tub. The house has been carefully maintained and you won’t have to monkey around with it much (if you’re OK with the carpet, that is).

A not-overly-turnkey place on the Westside is a fairly large five-bedroom, three-bath house at 3221 Easy Ave. The description in the listing for the home include a few red-alert alarm phrases, such as “diamond in the rough” (of which this home is pretty much the opposite) and “cash only.” In this case, the cash being asked for is $450,000.

One of the bedrooms in the “diamond in the rough” property at 3221 Easy Ave. on the Westside. Listing photo.

One little adventure that comes with buying a house is seeing what kind of cool stuff the previous owner left behind. Here, there’s plenty to browse through, especially in at least one of the rooms that has what you might call ample storage space.

If you’re planning on flipping this property, set aside enough money to rent a skip loader for a few weeks, and be sure and let me know how it all turns out.

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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.
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