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‘88 Finishing Touches : Urban ‘Pioneers’ Make Move to Quieter Home

Since arriving in the United States, Wayne Beswick has often said that he has become part of the American Dream. Now the British immigrant is proving it.

On Tuesday, Beswick and his wife, Marilyn, will move from their 1,200-square-foot home in the Oakwood section of Venice to a house twice that size in the Malibu hills.

The Beswicks say they are relocating because the four-bedroom, three-bath, Cape Cod-style manse on an acre of land will be a better place to raise their daughters Jessica, 5, and Alexandria, 2.

More than a year ago, they had built a home in Oakwood as urban pioneers intent on revitalizing--some say gentrifying--a troubled neighborhood. They saw the community as the last place in Los Angeles to buy beach-area property at a reasonable price. But the joy of living near the ocean could not diminish their fear of frequent neighborhood drug dealing or other crimes.

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“I am always having to shuttle the kids into the house,” Marilyn Beswick said two months ago. “There are drunks and addicts walking up the alley screaming obscenities and I haven’t gotten a full night’s sleep since we’ve been here.

“It’s either people playing music so loud in cars they are driving up and down the street, or police helicopters or people in the street all night fighting. Or there are gunshots.” One gunshot in a drive-by shooting killed a 9-year-old boy four blocks away.

So the Beswick’s decided to move even though another newly arrived couple, interviewed at the same time, called Oakwood a dream community offering clean air, ocean proximity and exposure to a diverse group of people.

Beswick, a builder, and his wife had bought their Oakwood lot and built their two-story house for about $65,000 as Beswick sought a piece of the American dream he aspired to. They borrowed on the growing equity to invest in other properties and, about two years after buying the lot, they listed the house for $239,000, more than three times their original investment.

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They ended up trading the home for the Malibu house. “He gave us over-the-market value for this home,” Marilyn Beswick said. “Of course, we still have to pay him extra for his house.”

The new owner will use the Oakwood home just as the Beswick’s did. “He plans to use it as an investment,” Marilyn Bestwick said.


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