Wintersburg advocates say historic Huntington Beach property is for sale and could become a self-storage facility
Advocates of preserving the Historic Wintersburg property in Huntington Beach say its owner is looking to sell the land for it to be redeveloped.
According to Mary Urashima, chairwoman of the Historic Wintersburg Preservation Task Force, a city-sponsored ad hoc committee devoted to preserving Wintersburg, property owner Republic Services is looking to sell the land to Public Storage for development of a self-storage facility.
Representatives of Republic Services, Huntington Beach’s trash disposal provider, did not immediately respond to requests for comment Wednesday.
The prospect is frustrating for preservationists, who were looking to buy the 4.4-acre lot at Warner Avenue and Nichols Lane.
Wintersburg contains six structures, including a Depression-era Japanese Presbyterian mission. In 2015, Wintersburg was named a “national treasure” by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The year before, the nonprofit called the site one of America’s most endangered historic places.
“To see a national treasure historic site and its cultural resources destroyed for self-storage is a very sad statement to those whose history is represented at Historic Wintersburg,” Urashima said.
Last year, advocates were trying to get an appraisal of the site’s market value so their national partners, including the Trust for Public Land, could acquire it, she said.
Huntington Beach Councilwoman Jill Hardy called the possibility of redevelopment “disappointing, but as I understand, nothing is a done deal.”
“As far as benefiting the community, preserving a historic spot and creating a public space is more beneficial to the community than public storage,” Hardy added.
According to the city, the closed-off property is a “rare, extant Japanese-American pioneer settlement and is the sole remaining parcel in Huntington Beach owned by a Japanese immigrant family prior to the California Alien Land Law of 1913.”
The discriminatory law prohibited Asian immigrants, particularly Japanese, from owning agricultural land.
In 2004, Republic Services, then called Rainbow Environmental Services, bought the property from the Furuta family, who had owned it for nearly a century.
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