Your choice in Wrigley: a $615K burned up house or a $1.1M turnkey bungalow

All right, before you tell me to kick rocks, just hear me out.

Don’t think of this home at 2959 Chestnut Ave. as an ultra-fixer that’s been pretty well totaled by fire damage. Think of it as a rich opportunity to build the home of your dreams, that is if your dreams are of owning a home in the North Wrigley section of Long Beach.

Has this home seen better days? Yes, most of its previous days have been better days, but where else in this neighborhood that’s constantly been on the brink of a breakthrough can you buy a house for just $615,000, nearly $130,000 below the median price for a home in the 90806 ZIP code? Nowhere. This is as low as you can go in terms of price.

It’s seen better days. Redfin photo.

If bringing a home up from the ashes seems like an enjoyable project for you, here’s a helpful guide to rebuilding after a fire. I got tired and discouraged just reading it. And, yes, of course, you can throw money at the problem of making this burned-out case into your ideal home. On the semi-bright side, the paperwork is already done, which’ll save you a little money and a lot of headaches. Plans to rebuild the house from its current size of a two-bedroom, one-bath home in 1,100-square-footer to a four-bedroom three-bath, 1,499-square-foot house have already been approved and permits ready to issue so you can start construction as soon as you get the keys. Or throw out the plans and design your own and go through the approval and permitting process. It’s your life. It’s your money.

Now, let’s pretend you don’t want the headache of grappling with the obvious and extensive hassles of rehabbing a ruined house after paying $615K just for starters, but the idea of living in the relatively affordable Wrigley neighborhood is appealing to you with its sort of quasi-Bixby Knolls charm brought about by mostly Spanish-style architecture and streets lined with old(ish) growth trees.

This Spanish Revival bungalow in South Wrigley is for sale at $1.111 million. Redfin photo.

You can forget the burned-up house that’s just south of Spring Street and hop across Willow Street in South Wrigley and purchase a totally un-burned, turnkey house for $1.1 million, about $500,000 more than the ruined home to the north (though without that vaunted rich opportunity for reimagination).

The million-dollar version is on the same street, at 2525 Chestnut Ave., and it’s also a two-bedroom, one-bath home, but it’s a really nice one in a quiet neighborhood. Named Blanco Bungalow, it’s fairly famous in its own right, having its own website in which the owners detail the home’s renovation and its decor and other charms.

At 1,263 square feet, it’s fairly large for a two-plus-one and it’s been thoroughly brought up to date with ductless HVAC, upgraded electrical and plumbing, and a nice kitchen featuring alder wood shelving, though, curiously, no drawers so everything’s on display. If you like to stash your pots and pans in a cupboard because they might not always be looking in showroom condition, this place might not be for you.

This two-bedroom Spanish Revival bungalow at 2525 Chestnut Ave. is listed at $1.111 million. Redfin photo.

The bedrooms and living room have stained redwood floors and outdoors there are pleasant patios and plants and enough maintenance-free turf for a pup to get its zoomies in.

The Spanish bungalow, listed by Realtor Taya Dicarlo of Compass, while pleasant enough in its appearance and its outdoor gathering spots, has a big job meeting the glowing listing verbiage: The walls are white, but not really “cloud-like.” The property includes a driveway, which is just a driveway, not exclusively a place where “adventure-ready vehicles can fit comfortably.” It notes that “the space is perfectly outfitted for mindful morning moments, artfulness & afternoon chill.” It’s Wrigley, not Carmel-By-the-Sea.

Hyperbole aside, it’s nevertheless a nice example of Spanish Revival architecture with its terra cotta roof and arched doorways in a diverse neighborhood that’s continuing to improve and attract buyers looking for something a bit more unique than the slightly pricier tract homes in the eastern part of the city.

A Killingsworth classic Case Study home in Naples for sale at $3.99 million

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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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