WEST HOLLYWOOD, Calif. – For more than three decades, a nursery filled with exotic plants from around the world has been serving the West Hollywood community.
The property they have been renting all these years at the corner of Fairfax and Willoughby is now potentially worth millions. Though their roots run deep in the community they are being forced out so the property can be sold.
“We really have the flora of the world,” said Leon Massoth owner of Xotx-Tropico. “All these big trees all these rarities… I’ve actually grown from seeds.”
Massoth has gone on countless plant collecting expeditions around the world. He can tell you the scientific name of each plant, what exotic land it came from, and exactly how to care for it.
Soon all of his plants could be replaced with a block of condos, his life’s work leveled, and the fate of the unique species of plants and trees unknown.
“Now we're also an endangered species ourselves,” Massoth said.
In the bustling neighborhood, the peacefully nursery is a stark contrast.
“It’s a nice reset… even our parks don’t have this many trees,” said West Hollywood resident Jillian Sorkin. “To be able to wipe out an entire block with trees rooted in the ground… it’s devastating.”
Massoth’s story is not unique: small business owner pushed out when property values jump.
“When we moved in it was a total quiet backwater nothing going on here… and now it’s Fairfax, the Grove, it’s become too valuable,” Massoth said.
He was told to be out by the end of December, but he isn’t leaving without a fight.
“All my trees are going to be killed… but I believe there is still a chance to buy the land and stop it from happening,” Massoth said.
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