BREA : City to Discuss Plan to Acquire Local Bar


The City Council, acting as the Redevelopment Agency, tonight will decide whether to acquire a local bar by eminent domain.

The neighborhood bar, Sam’s Place, is housed in a two-story structure that was built around 1915 in what is downtown Brea.

Over the past three years, the agency has tried to buy out the tavern’s owner, Seaton Greaves, or move his business to another part of town. The city is conducting a $100-million redevelopment of the downtown area.


Greaves has resisted and filed a lawsuit in Orange County Superior Court against the city last month, seeking to stop any eminent domain proceedings against his property at 117 S. Brea Blvd. No action has been taken in that suit.

“It’s fruitless for (the Redevelopment Agency) to take my property” through eminent domain, Greaves said. “They’re only going to lose in court and they are wasting taxpayers’ money.”

About a year ago, the city offered Greaves $630,000 for his 7,000-square-foot lot, but Greaves asked for $775,000. About seven months ago, the city offered $703,000, which Greaves also rejected, asking instead $739,000.

At this point, Greaves said he wants $1.5 million for the city to relocate his business to Brea Boulevard and Birch Street.

The council made its final offer of $467,000 two weeks ago.

“I have gone from being nice to being very angry,” Greaves said. “These people are brain dead if they think they can condemn my property and win in court.”

Even if the city decides to condemn Sam’s Place, Mayor Glenn G. Parker said, the city still will attempt to reach a settlement.


“We’re always open to continue to talk,” he said.

City officials will meet with Greaves on Feb. 23 to try to negotiate a settlement.

Councilwoman Kathryn E. Wiser said she will be voting against acquiring the neighborhood bar through eminent domain because the property will not be used for emergency facilities.

“I do not believe in the use of eminent domain to take over someone’s property,” she said. “We’re not building a hospital or a fire station or something you can’t live without.”

Sam’s Place is one of the last buildings still standing in the downtown area, which the city plans to transform into a mixed residential-commercial complex. The developer, Watt/Craig Enterprises, recently secured financing for the 50-acre project, which will break ground within 40 days.

To make way for the project, more than 600 residents have been forced to move and most business owners have either been bought out or relocated.

One of the businesses, Wienerschnitzel, will also be considered for acquisition tonight. The city wants to acquire the property at 145 S. Brea Blvd. and said it will spend $272,600 to relocate the business to city-owned land on the southeast corner of Lambert Road and Orange Avenue.