Condos in Monrovia
When Bernard Buller bought an old gas station in Monrovia 22 years ago, the corner lot facing railroad tracks and a cemetery must have seemed like the last place anyone would want to put houses.
But Monrovia has changed. Now, with a decades-long city agenda to upgrade Monrovia's image and property-tax values, and a red-hot housing market, Buller's lot has become a prime development site.
Buller doesn't want to sell his property, at the corner of Duarte Road and California Avenue. But city officials insist they need his lot to improve the whole block. And they're initiating eminent domain proceedings to get it.
But he's paid off the mortgage on his property. He relies on his tenants' rent for income. He can't find any other suitable place to work on cars. He just doesn't want to leave.
"I'm dug in there, big time," Buller said. "Everything in this world is not about money. This is my life. This income I have coming in, I need that to live. And what I'm doing with my life is my hobby. I like my life the way it is."