The Southern California beachfront property that was seized from a black couple via eminent domain a century ago and returned to their heirs last year will be sold again to Los Angeles County for nearly $20 million, officials said. on Tuesday.
The estate’s decision to sell what was once known as Bruce’s Beach was announced by Janice Hahn, chairwoman of the county Board of Supervisors, and State Senator Steven Bradford, who led state and local government efforts to undo injustice. from a long time ago.
“This fight has always been focused on what is best for the Bruce family, and they feel it is in their best interest to sell this property to the county for nearly $20 million and ultimately rebuild the generational wealth that they have been denied for nearly a century.” Hahn said in a statement.
“This is what reparations look like and it is a model that I hope governments across the country will follow,” Hahn added in a statement. cheep.
Bradford, author of the state legislation that allowed the land to be returned, said he supported the heirs’ decision to sell it to the county because current zoning regulations would prevent them from developing it in an economically beneficial way.
The land in the city of Manhattan Beach was purchased in 1912 by Willa and Charles Bruce, who built a small resort for African-Americans on the southern shore of Santa Monica Bay.
The Bruces suffered racist harassment from white neighbors, and in the 1920s the property was condemned and usurped by the Manhattan Beach City Council. The city did nothing with the property, and it was transferred to the state of California and then to Los Angeles County.
The county built its lifeguard training headquarters on the land, which includes a small parking lot.
For generations, a small plaque in the middle of a lush green park near the original beachfront property served as the only reminder of the city’s complicated history.
“For us as a family, this is off to a wonderful start. And then it became a tragic story for my family,” Anthony Bruce, the Bruce’s great-great-grandson, told NBC News. “In the past, prejudice was rampant. And unfortunately, my family was the victim of a hate crime and the prejudice that existed at the time.
Hahn learned of the property’s history and began the complex process of returning the property, including determining that two great-grandchildren of the Bruces are his legal heirs.
The terms of the transfer agreement completed last June called for the property to be re-leased to the county for 24 months, with an annual rent of $413,000 plus all operation and maintenance costs, and a possible sale to the county for nearly $20 million, the estimated value.