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San Diego's Next Hot Neighborhoods

Where everyone will be living in 2016


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Liberty Station / Zip Code: 92106

On the Market

2973 Farragut Rd.
$1,015,000
3 beds, 2.5 baths
2,687 sq ft

On the higher end of the spectrum, the interior of this 2004 stunner includes travertine flooring and a built-in Kitchen-Aid refrigerator. But while it features a massive open plan with high ceilings for lots of light, the backyard is very small.

The Vibe:

Wedged between the Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Rosecrans Street, and a finger of San Diego Bay, Liberty Station brought restaurants, arts, and walkability to this slice of Point Loma. The area is both a residential hot spot and a destination for San Diego locals. Its young, well-educated community thrives on the expansive parks, bay views, restaurants, arts, and culture. There’s dance, art galleries, writing workshops, fitness, shopping, and even the School of Rock. Good eats include Soda & Swine and the forthcoming second location of Buona Forchetta. One complaint from the locals? Traffic around The Rock Church every Sunday.

Incoming:

The new Liberty Public Market has locals excited about fresh, artisanal foods and beverages from more than 30 vendors, most of them local.

Neighborhood Icons:

The historic former Naval Training Center grounds, complete with naval guns. Plus Malashock Dance, Corvette Diner, Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens, and the massive Rock Church.

Housing:

Condos can be found in the mid $500s, while the detached single-family homes range from the $600 and $700s to over $1 million. Don’t forget to plan for monthly HOA and Mello-Roos fees.

Schools:

Home to the nationally renowned High Tech High School, High Tech Middle, and Explorer Elementary (also part of the High Tech charter school family), plus The Rock Church’s private academy, which serves preschool through high school.

Wish List:

Even with acres of parkland, there’s no dedicated off-leash area, and while the beer offerings are outstanding, the area could sure use a good margarita.

Del Sur / Zip Code: 92127

On the Market

8488 Christopher Ridge Terrace
$675,000
4 beds, 2.5 baths
2,206 sq ft

Walk to parks, hiking trails, and Del Sur Elementary School from this townhome built in 2009. As part of the Mandolin complex of Shea Homes, owners enjoy access
to a pool and fitness center. The HOA fee
is $285 per month and the Mello-Roos is in the $300–400s, based on square footage.

The Vibe:

Adjacent to Rancho Bernardo and 4S Ranch is the growing, contemporary neighborhood of Del Sur, where visitors find brilliantly designed homes, parks, and trails. It’s made up of a diverse mix of educated families, whose children take advantage of the award-winning Poway Unified School District. It’s suburbia with views of the hills and canyons, but you’ll find restaurants, grocery stores, and cute shops all within walking distance.

Incoming:

Auberge, a housing community for seniors, is expected to open this year.

Neighborhood Icons:

The Ranch House is a gorgeous community gathering spot where locals host parties, family activities, and weddings.

Housing:

A mix, including single-family houses, townhomes, and million-dollar dwellings. Prices start in the high $500s. If you’re priced out of Del Sur, try the adjacent community of Veridian, where homes start in the high $400s.

Schools:

Del Sur residents have access to Poway Unified schools, including the popular and futuristic Design39Campus school, where students can foster their creativity by learning the art of digital design.

Wish List:

Independent restaurants, a brewery.

I love that whenever I look outside I see kids playing and parents visiting. The community association also does a great job planning family movie nights, concerts in the park, the spring circus, and adults-only events for parents to enjoy a night out.
–Becky Rubino, 34, resident for 6 years

San Elijo Hills / Zip Code: 92078

On the Market

847 Antilla Way
$868,868
5 beds, 4.5 baths
3,605 sq ft

First sold in 2005 for $976,000, the 3-car garage house boasts a view of the hills and a sliver of ocean. Inside, there's a bonus room and a kitchen with granite countertops and maple cabinets.Local schools are rated 10 out of 10, except San Marcos High (9).

The Vibe:

Situated on hills between Elfin Forest and Carlsbad in San Marcos is the master-planned community San Elijo Hills, where residents enjoy coastal views, hiking trails, and parks. The Hills are home to a tight-knit mix of young families with stay-at-home moms and retirees—all of whom are actively involved in improving the emerging neighborhood. After pressuring developers, it was announced that phase two of the Town Center would begin, and retailer requests were solicited from locals. (Current hot spots include SoulShine Yoga, Scott Jacobs Studio Art Gallery, and Shanes Pizza & Pints. The area is completely dog friendly.) Regardless of future plans, residents find plenty to do, with annual events like a Monster Bash and their own Oktoberfest celebration.

Incoming:

Double Peak K8, a design- and tech-driven school, will open in August.

Housing:

The North County neighborhood is home to condos, single-family homes, and mini mansions. Prices start in the $400s.

Schools:

Children of San Elijo Hills can attend the San Marcos Unified schools: San Elijo Elementary, San Elijo Middle, and San Marcos High. All schools are highly rated, with many extracurricular programs.

Wish List:

More shops, restaurants, yoga studios.

I live in San Elijo Hills for its parks and sense of community. I love that I can walk to the park with my young son and then cruise over for a frozen yogurt or to pick up something from the grocery store. I run into many of the same young families while walking our dogs or going for a run. I see ourselves living here for quite a while—it’s the perfect place to raise a family.
–Sara Johnson, 37, resident for 1.5 years

Talmadge / Zip Code: 92115

On the Market

4606 Max Drive
$549,000
2 beds; 1 bath
810 sq ft

At press time, this small home with a 1-car garage, built in 1945, had an offer pending. Situated on an 8,700-square-foot lot, it overlooks a canyon and has a deck. Land sakes!

The Vibe:

Residents of this Mid-City ’hood take pride in their homes and in each other. Nestled between urban City Heights and high-priced Kensington, it’s home to an educated and involved bunch who are passionate about maintaining an appealing neighborhood through community organizations. You’ll find plenty of events geared toward families, like a Halloween parade and block parties with bounce houses and mini golf courses. You can also count on a lower crime rate, thanks to its volunteer citizens’ patrol.

Incoming:

Trader Joe’s is opening just a few minutes away from Talmadge, on the SDSU campus.* Bike routes will also be added as part of the San Diego Regional Bike Plan.

Neighborhood Icon:

The Talmadge traffic circle, where neighbors hand out candy at Halloween or carols during Christmastime.

Housing:

Talmadge is home to quaint, single-family houses with spacious backyards—most are priced from the low $500s to the mid $600s. The neighborhood recently listed its first million-dollar home on Janet Place.

Schools:

Public schools Fay Elementary, Mann Middle, and Hoover High are gradually improving their curriculum while offering support to English learners and lessons with an emphasis on math and science. Parents also have the option of private schools, Our Lady of the Sacred Heart and Blessed Sacrament Elementary School, which both have stellar reviews.

Wish List:

Restaurants.

Sponsored by Willis Allen

Barrio Logan / Zip Codes: 92101, 92113, 92136

The Vibe:

The urban neighborhood south of downtown is a gritty mix of older homes, industrial businesses, trendy art galleries, and military facilities. Barrio Logan draws its identity from both its Chicano and maritime heritages. The vibe can shift street-by-street, from working class to hipster enclave. With more affordable property than other emerging neighborhoods, some worry it will lose its important cultural legacy to gentrification.

Redevelopment has included Mercado del Barrio, a massive retail, restaurant, and 92-unit apartment complex adjacent to Chicano Park. It’s anchored by a Northgate González Market. With a central plaza for festivals, farmers’ markets, and public art, Mercado del Barrio  has worked to ingratiate itself with the community.

Incoming:

Gourmet food-truck company MishMash is set to open its first brick-and-mortar eatery in early 2016. North Park’s Thorn St. Brewery plans to open a brewery and tasting room early next year.

Neighborhood Icon:

Chicano Park, a nearly eight-acre U.S. Historic Place under the Coronado Bridge. With some 72 murals depicting Mexican American iconography, it’s considered the largest collection of outdoor murals in the country. In recent years, the murals have been restored and new lighting has been installed.

Housing:

Barrio Logan’s residential community remains a mix of low- and mid-income apartments and single-family dwellings. The median list price for a single-family home in Barrio Logan is about $520,000 according to realtor.com.

Schools:

Public schools here are in the San Diego Unified School District, while higher education includes the Woodbury School of Architecture’s San Diego campus and San Diego Continuing Education’s new Cesar E. Chavez campus.

Wish List:

Repaired and improved infrastructure.

El Cajon Blvd. Corridor / Zip Codes: 92104, 92105, 92115

On the Market

4154 Louisiana Street
$410,000
2 beds, 2 baths
1,107 sqft

Located in North Park, this condo features a one-car garage plus an extra parking spot. The
counters are granite and the carpet is new. Built in 1965, it was last sold in 2012 for $210,000. The HOA fee is $210.

The Vibe:

Travel along the first three miles of this eight-mile historic highway and you’ll pass through the hipster havens of University Heights and North Park on to the immigrant enclaves in City Heights. Although it’s thriving with historic businesses, as well as Mexican, Southeast Asian, and East African markets, dive bars, and gastropubs, El Cajon Boulevard is still stigmatized by its history as a hot spot for the world’s oldest profession.

Incoming:

Developers have recognized the boulevard's potential to become a walkable community and are building more than 800 new apartments over the next two years, with more space for retail shops and restaurants. That’s huge, considering these communities saw only 500 new residences in the last decade. Kicking off the revitalization is BLVD, a mixed-use project that just broke ground and replaced the long-abandoned San Diego Stage & Lighting building near Florida Street. While most of the projects are planned for University Heights and North Park, new developments are also coming to City Heights and Euclid Avenue, like 37 ECB, a new co-working space.

Neighborhood Icons:

Families gather at the park between Oregon and Idaho streets, home to the North Park Water Tower—a U.S. Historic Place—and the Copley-Price Family YMCA. The landmark Lafayette Hotel has gained national media attention for its summer pool scene. Red Fox Steakhouse and Piano Bar, the drag queen show at Lips Restaurant, breakfast at Rudford’s diner, and the throwback prices at San Diego Chicken Pie Shop are local institutions.

Housing:

Most residences along the boulevard are small walk-up apartments and condos, whereas University Heights and North Park have a cluster of single-family homes. Prices for housing close to El Cajon Boulevard vary greatly between communities: A one-bedroom townhouse in Normal Heights can be found in the mid-$200s, whereas houses in University Heights can run in the $800s.

Everyone is friendly, it’s safe, and I can walk to anything. It would be awesome if we could get a local trolley line on the boulevard like they had back in the day. I think it would be used more than the Rapid bus line.
–Lance Spellman, 32, University Heights resident for 8 years

Oak Park / Zip Code: 92105

On the Market

3350 54th Street
$420,000
3 beds, 2 baths
1,455 sq ft

Last sold in August for $301,000, this 1950 home has since been remodeled. The lot totals 6,500 square feet, with a gated courtyard and patio with tall hedges.

The Vibe:

An ultradiverse locale where neighbors get together for activities like gardening, community cleanups, and craft beer. The Mid-City region is attracting young, community-oriented dwellers who are passionate about reinventing a place that was once run-down. Even though it’s near major freeways like the 805 and 94, you’ll still find a suburban feel in Oak Park.

Incoming:

In an effort to diminish the “food desert” label in Oak Park and nearby communities, local students transformed their neighborhood store, Louie’s Marketplace, into one that offers produce and other healthy options. Residents can now walk to get fresh goods rather than drive to another neighborhood with a formal grocery store.

Neighborhood Icon:

The glistening Chollas Lake Park is home to a fishing clinic, cactus garden, walking and hiking trails, a playground, and an amphitheater.

Housing:

Oak Park is mostly made up of spacious, single-family homes ranging from the low $300s to the low $400s. Condos are also available starting in the low $100s.

Schools:

The neighborhood is home to two San Diego Unified schools: Oak Park Elementary, which places an emphasis on music education, and Carver, which borders Chollas Lake Park and offers robust English-learning support for its students—manyof whom are bilingual.

Wish List:

Restaurants, grocery stores.

Last October, 16 of us walked up 54th Street cleaning the sidewalks. We had a lot of fun and got to know each other. We have a cleanup planned for this spring and we're having a block party as well.
–Nicholas McVicker, 31, resident for 2.5 years

Bankers Hill / Zip Codes: 92101, 92103

The Vibe:

This residential pocket near Balboa Park is one of the city’s oldest neighborhoods, and is packed with homes and historic buildings that range from late Victorian to Cubist architectural styles. The landmark Cabrillo Bridge runs from the heart of the park into the neighborhood’s core, where walkable and bicycle-friendly streets have an urban feel but are less busy than neighboring Hillcrest, Little Italy, and downtown. The residents are a mix of single professionals, empty-nesters, and young families.

Incoming:

Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth avenues are now busy with construction: A total of six new apartment and condo complexes are planned or in progress, bringing 350 units and new retail space.

Outgoing:

Landmark restaurant Croce’s Park West closed in January.

Neighborhood Icons:

The swaying footbridge at Spruce Street, and Mister A’s. Locals can be found enjoying happy hour at Cucina Urbana, Imperial House, and Bankers Hill Bar + Restaurant.

Housing:

The area is mostly made up of mid-rise complexes that house studios and apartments, and small single-family homes and condos that range anywhere from the high $400s to $1.7 million.

Schools:

City Tree Christian School and Balboa City School, a private college prep academy, are in the neighborhood. California Western School of Law and Language Studies International are also within walking distance. The closest San Diego Unified public schools are Washington Elementary in Little Italy and Florence Elementary in Hillcrest.

Wish List:

More parking!

North City / Zip Codes: 92078

The Vibe:

The planned “downtown,” likened to a college town, south of Highway 78 and north of Cal State San Marcos, will be composed of 204 acres of mixed-use development along the Sprinter line. Developers plan for a mix of students, as well as adults not affiliated with the university.

Incoming:

Block C, a mixed-use market rate building—with upscale studios and one- and two-bedrooms, all designed for LEED eligibility—should open by late summer. This year, the developers are breaking ground on a second market rate building, as well as another student housing building.

Neighborhood Icons:

Cal State San Marcos, the Sprinter light rail line, and Highway 78.

Housing:

The Quad, the first completed building, is mixed-use student housing and retail. Its parking is across the street on campus, encouraging residents to walk and bike to school.

School:

A site west of Twin Oaks Valley Road has been set aside for the school district, should they opt to utilize it.

Makers Quarter / Zip Code: 92101

The Vibe:

Spearheaded by urban planner Stacey Lankford Pennington, the area, which comprises six blocks of downtown’s upper East Village just south of City College, includes mostly warehouses and vacant lots. It will see major changes in the next few years that could attract millennials and the creative class. Pop-up art galleries and performances have already launched, like the WoW Festival’s staging of El Henry.

Incoming:

The area will see 250,000 square feet of new retail in 2017, and 1 million square feet of office space with unique design elements like outdoor walkways. East Village Green, the largest park in downtown, will be completed by late 2018.

Neighborhood Icons:

Fab Lab innovation hub and a community Smarts Farm. The Coliseum, formerly a renowned boxing arena, will house 20,000 square feet of retail.

Housing:

StreetLights (293 units) and Broadstone Makers Quarter (269 apartments) both break ground this year.

Schools:

San Diego City College, San Diego High School, Urban Discovery Academy (a K-8 charter school), NewSchool of Architecture and Design, Thomas Jefferson School of Law, and e3 Civic High all lie within a five-block radius in the East Village.

Grant Hill / Zip Code: 92102

The Vibe:

Just south of South Park and east of East Village, this well-located nabe—within walking distance to downtown and close to the 5, 163, and 94 freeways—consists of only 10 blocks. The diverse community is composed of families who have lived here for generations and newcomers who favor its lower rents and proximity to the hipper ’hoods. Here, people know each other’s names and dine on a wide variety of foods, including Jamaican, Salvadoran, Mexican, and many street vendors. The area’s increasing popularity is a double-edged sword: Locals are concerned it might price some families out of the market.

Incoming:

Grant Hill is seeing an influx of people escaping pricey downtown. There’s also a new Walmart Neighborhood Market, which is popular but a potential threat to independent grocers.

Neighborhood Icon:

Grant Hill Park offers a great place to meet up, plus stunning views of downtown. And though currently closed, the Victory Theater has a long history in the community, first as a church and then as the site of protests for their segregation policies.

Housing:

The area boasts a variety of historic houses built in the early 1900s, from California bungalows to Spanish colonials. There are deals to be had, including fixer-uppers in the low $200s. Places with more curb appeal range in the $400-600s.

Schools:

Grant Hill has two public elementary schools: Kimbrough and Sherman. Albert Einstein Middle School, a charter school, opened in 2014. There are no high schools in the neighborhood, but Grant Hill is close to King Chavez downtown, and e3 Civic High School in the Central Library.

Wish List:

Bike lanes, public art, more local businesses.

This historic district feels open and primed for creativity—perfect for people who might want to have a garden in their front yard or give their house a cool design element while still maintaining that 1920s charm.
–Jaime Fritsch, 33, resident for 1 years

Clairemont / Zip Codes: 92111, 92117

On the Market

7057 Beagle Street
$588,888
3 beds, 2 baths
1,550 sq ft

The house has many telltale 1960s-era features: a brick fireplace, sun room (this one has two!), and mature fruit trees out back. Bonus: It's equipped with AC and solar panels.

The Vibe:

The ethnically diverse San Diego suburb may be landlocked between the 52, 5, and 805, but its perch atop the mesas of San Clemente Canyon and Tecolote Canyon affords enviable views of Mission Bay and the ocean. Plus, it’s central for commutes to many other parts of town. Residents tend to be old-timers who bought houses back when they were new, young families enjoying (relatively) affordable square footage, and college kids of nearby San Diego Mesa College.

Incoming:

The City has worked to dress up medians with more trees and better signage and the Boys & Girls Club is newly renovated. The Balboa Mesa Shopping Center received a $14-million makeover that includes more space for tenants like Taiwanese-style 85C Bakery, plus new bioswale landscaping designed to channel storm water.

Essentials:

Clairemont boasts some of the most multicultural dining options in the county. Here you can find international markets, as well as Thai, Italian, South African, Mexican, and Lebanese restaurants all within the same block.

Housing:

Clairemont is one of San Diego’s original master-planned communities, with houses, schools, libraries, and commercial areas mapped out by developers back in the ’50s and ’60s. Housing ranges from condos to mobile homes, modest family residences to million-dollar remodels.

Schools:

Clairemont’s public schools fall within San Diego Unified. Clairemont’s San Diego Mesa College is the largest in the San Diego Community College District.

Wish List:

Better public transportation beyond the bus, and more fine dining options.


Disclaimer: Homes listed here were still on the market as of the printing of the March issue.

North City rendering by Safdie Rabines Architects; Makers Quarter image courtesy of SLP Urban Planning


More in Neighborhoods:

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