3. December 2013 12:43
Recently, I had the pleasure to work with buyers relocating back to San Diego after a 12-year residency in Costa Rica. The search requirement was simple: locate a house with lots of elbow room & plenty of land. This of course ruled out the majority of subdivisions and neighborhoods in San Diego, which had small lots, or, just not enough privacy. In north county the Fallbrook & Bonsall communities were attractive, but it was not until we toured Rainbow that we found a match. (Wikipedia says: “The area, previously known as "Vallecitos", (little valley), was renamed "Rainbow Valley" in the late 1880s, after Mr. J.P.M. Rainbow, who bought a homestead there”). The mountainous community offers spectacular views of the Cleveland National Forest, and a line of sight clear to the Pacific Ocean located due west by 40 miles. If you live in San Diego you have definitely passed Rainbow….the community straddles Interstate 15 there are 3 exit ramps that will take you there. Before the days of Interstate 15, (pre 1984), the old Highway 395 took you through Rainbow & offered roadside fruit & vegetable stands and a restaurant or two. The Pauma, Pala & Pechanga Indian Reservations, & the Riverside County line and the City of Temecula are all a stones throw away. A large number of ornamental plant nurseries operate out of Rainbow. You know there is a strong sense of independence cultivated in this area. The locals head over to Fallbrook, located 10 minutes southwest, for food, shopping & entertainment. If you have the chance, take a drive through beautiful Rainbow on your way to Palm Springs or Las Vegas. It’s the gateway to San Diego.
18. November 2013 13:06
Downtown San Diego is a continual work in progress & the latest spotlight is on the Old Police Headquarters adjacent to Seaport Village. Built in the 1920’s, the complex was a romantic architectural gem designed to house the San Diego Police Department and the criminals the police arrested. Restaurants, including The Cheesecake Factory & Seasons 52, as well as specialty shops, will all be framed within a massive courtyard & gardens. Perhaps it will give the Gaslamp Quarter a run for the money? According to the developer, the newly anointed “Headquarters'” is an unusual mix of distinct architectural styles, including Spanish Colonial Revival, Mediterranean, Churrigueresque & Pueblo Deco. What I can say with certainty is this will be a successful venture based on the ‘curb appeal’ of its uniqueness and also the location. For decades the building sat vacant & boarded up at the very prominent corner of Pacific Highway and Harbor Drive. The residents at Park Place, a residential condominium located directly across the street, will be especially grateful; but in truth all residents, workers and visitors downtown will enjoy this wonderful new ‘old’ building at 789 West Harbor Drive.
31. October 2013 08:55
This house pictured above in South Park is being saved, just in time for Halloween! The scaffolding frames the façade of this old home and promises a bright, extended lease of life. San Diego’s older neighborhoods are referred to as ‘legacy’ communities. Mission Hills, Kensington, North Park, South Park and Point Loma are examples of legacy neighborhoods. The original housing stock was constructed in the 1890’s – 1930’s, with architectural styles ranging from Craftsman, Spanish and Victorian. The appeal for these communities is that ‘sense of place’ that offers a pedestrian-friendly, walk able & neighborly environment in the heart of the city. Close to the beaches, to freeways, to the airport, and the crown jewel of the county’s cultural & historic collective, Balboa Park. With little vacant land to build, a new development underway it is almost always a result of an original home or building being razed. So it is refreshing to see re-purposing & remodeling to modernize a home and keep that heritage alive. We can all appreciate the aesthetic of authenticity, and how that lends to pride of ownership. The maintenance and care of older homes is akin to being caretakers of history….live in a 1920-s era home for a year and you will know what I mean. An added benefit of an older home is potential Mills Act designation to the homeowner. The Mills Act offers a property tax savings for qualifying homes that are 50 years or older and have some connection to San Diego’s past. The exterior must look ‘original’ but the interior can be as modern as the Getty Museum. Call me anytime at 619.248.4200 and I can share details of the program. The appeal of older homes in established legacy neighborhoods continues, so if you want to be part of the preservation movement, you do have choices in San Diego.
15. October 2013 11:32
We have to crank up the heat or turn in the air conditioning when the weather makes stark changes. As we enter autumn and winter, the costs to pay for rising bills can be a concern. The growing popularity of properties with “green” features is evident by sales price and market time. The extras, which can include solar panels, energy-efficient windows, tank less water heaters, hot water on demand, energy-efficient appliances, & hardwood floors harvested from managed-growth forests, are a big selling tool. We are not as impacted here in southern California compared to buyers in the North and South, based on our weather. “Nearly nine out of 10 recent home buyers say that heating and cooling costs were “somewhat important” or “very important” in choosing a home to purchase, according to the National Association of REALTORS®’ latest Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers”. New home buyers were more drawn to environmentally friendly features than buyers who purchased re-sale homes – the added features helped make the choice when weighing between ‘new’ versus ‘resale’. We live in a beautiful environment in San Diego, and generations before us helped preserve and plan the city we call home. People like Ellen Browning Scripps, who purchased and then deeded to the public what is now Torrey Pines State Reserve in La Jolla, and Kate Sessions who helped nurture the trees and plantings at Balboa Park….we enjoy the bounty of their good works. It is no wonder that energy efficiency and environmentally friendly features resonate with today’s San Diegans.
24. September 2013 12:59
With our abundant sunshine, beautifully mild temperatures and average 10-inch annual rainfall, San Diego has all the benefits of being extremely energy efficient. However, we don’t even make the “Top 10” list…but we should! According to the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, Boston wins the award for America’s most energy-efficient city. ACEE ranked the nation’s 34 largest cities. The ranking reviews how cities promote energy efficiency via the following: building construction & conservation; transportation systems/access; energy and water utility; local government operations; & community-wide initiatives. So, San Diego does not make it, and Boston is #1, who are the others on the top 10? In descending order: Portland, Oregon, San Francisco, New York City, Seattle, Austin, Texas, Washington, D.C. , Minneapolis, Chicago & Philadelphia. We should strive to make the top 10 next year.