Real Estate: New Life for a Ghost Town

Surrounded by prospering suburban developments, the partly completed subdivision 18 miles from downtown Los Angeles had sunk into dreary ruin. Some 275 families lived in Bellehurst, but among their luxurious (up to $55,000) ranch homes stood the vandal-and weather-ravaged remains of another 450 abandoned houses, many only half-built. During eight years of neglect, streets caved in; tumbleweed rolled across once well-kept lawns and against the legs of curious sightseers. Golfers at Bellehurst's Los Coyotes Country Club were forced to climb over rotting piles of lumber and weed-cracked concrete slabs when they tracked errant drives into the rough.

Now, the once-moribund...

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