Tag: housing

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Alfa Romeo Spider

No one would call me a car guy. Still, I’m a sucker for classic, European vehicular styling—like that seen in the Featured Image and its companions. Today, while walking through University Heights to the Vermont Street Bridge that leads to shopping plaza The Hub in Hillcrest, I passed by my first-ever sighting of an Alfa Romeo sportster. If online image search steered me down the right road, this model is the Spider—and I am unable to pin down year of release. What a beauty she is (my blog, my pronoun choice).

The car was parked on Lincoln at Maryland, near where I photographed a Hummer in February 2021. Coincidentally, or not, both vehicles were outside the same home—just on different streets (it’s a corner property).

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Goldie is Gone

From the title, you would think this post is about the pictured kitty. Rather, he is launchpad for a discourse about San Diego real estate. Let’s start with Goldie, whom I profiled as part of my “Cats of University Heights” series in September 2017. The Featured Image is the last portrait I made of him, using Leica Q2, on June 26, 2021. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/250 sec, 28mm; 5:26 p.m. PDT.

I continued to see Goldie inside his yard for several more weeks, and I initially thought nothing about there being, as late as early August, no visible activity at the house whatsoever. The place was fairly quiet before the SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)/COVID-19 lockdowns brought many parents home and kept kids out of school. My wife and I delighted seeing the youngsters playing outside the home. Then they disappeared, which I attributed to the local, year-round public elementary school reopening.

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The Cats of University Heights: Spalding

Could San Diego’s housing market be slowing down? Countywide, the median home price dropped by $19,250 to (cough, cough) $730,500 month-on-month in July. Oh, I just quake with excitement. In context of this information, I was curious to look at a property, located where Georgia Street and Spalding Place meet, discovered on Zillow yesterday. On Aug. 7, 2021, the sellers lopped off $50,000 from the asking price. Whip out your checkbook! The residence now lists for $1.149 million. That’s not a location where I would expect to see something selling for so much; hence, my nosiness.

The three-bedroom, three-bathroom, 1,630-foot Craftsman sits on Georgia but I approached from cross-street Spalding, which explains my nickname given to the handsome black seen there. I used Leica Q2 to capture the Featured Image and companion, today. Vitals, aperture manually set for both: f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/320 sec, 28mm; 9:56 a.m. PDT. The other: f/8, ISO 100, 1/160 sec, 28mm; 9:58 a.m.

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Why the Maine Coons Lost Their Home

To see where was the golf cart accident that led to yesterday morning’s dramatic chase and capture, my wife and I walked along Florida to Adams, where I shot additional photos. We returned the same way, passing by a man leaning on the porch railing of the house where feral felines Mimi and Sweet Pea lived for about eight years in the spacious backyard. I profiled both animals in my “Cats of University Heights” series in May 2018.

I asked the gentleman about clearcutting the property, which he confirmed started on Aug. 10, 2021. The action was taken at the behest of the broker, who believes there is a 98-percent chance an investor will buy the place, rather than a resident; removing the lush greenery and trees emphasizes the lot’s large size for the neighborhood and increases likelihood of higher bidding during the September 11 auction.

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Mimi and Sweet Pea are Homeless

If only SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)/COVID-19 eviction moratoriums applied to feral felines, the habitat of Mimi and Sweet Pea would not have been utterly destroyed. The luscious, and humungous, yard they shared was intact a few days ago—my wife and I can’t recall if Tuesday or Wednesday (today is the only Friday the 13th of the year). This morning, we peaked in—shocked to see nearly complete clearcutting.

The saga starts as we walked along the alley separating Alabama and Florida. As we moved down the block between Monroe and Madison, I saw a kitty beyond the cross street going towards Adams. From the coloration, and our recently seeing Pace (pronounced paw-chay, according to his owner) in the vicinity, I assumed it must be the aged Norwegian Forest Cat. Oddly, though, the animal disappeared and reappeared, as if going into and out of different backyards along the alley.

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‘It’s California’

Days ago, the pet grass display disappeared from the local Ralph’s supermarket. I couldn’t accept that the popular item had been forever removed and so, this morning, I walked from our University Heights apartment to the outer edges of adjacent Hillcrest for another look. The grocer is located in a plaza called The Hub, where also is a condominium complex.

Coming across the Vermont Street Bridge, I observed a woman placing an Open House sign. Real estate is costlier than ever in San Diego, with home values rising 24.7 percent year over year in May, according to S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller Indices data released on July 27, 2021. Only the Phoenix-metro posted higher gains (25.9 percent). Approaching the realtor, as she adjusted the sign, I asked: “But is it cut-off-arm-and-leg prices”. She answered: “It’s California”—with a wry grin!

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Return to Sender

I couldn’t expect this. The Postal Convenience Center, located at the corner of El Cajon and Louisiana in San Diego’s University Heights district, is closed—looks like forever. I made the discovery when out for a leisurely walk this afternoon. Signs posted in the windows state: “We Have Moved” and directs customers to 4075 Park Blvd, where their mail will be forwarded. The location is a UPS Store.

A second-hand source says this: The proprietors learned last month that the block of properties has new owners, who will redevelop it. Efforts to continue operations of a business reportedly opened in 1987 ran aground; I don’t know specifics but can guess costs of relocation and starting over on short notice. Postal Convenience Center served locals—many of them likely lost in any lengthy restart. The establishment hasn’t moved, if I am rightly informed. It’s gone for good. 

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An Independence Day Reflection

I can’t attest to other San Diego neighborhoods, but University Heights has undergone dramatic, observable changes since start of the SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)/COVID-19 lockdowns in mid-March 2020. Many of the older, long-time residents sold their homes during the bubble boom and much younger folks—many of them couples with small children—moved in; more new renters can be seen than buyers, and a good number of the arrivals are Northern California escapees.

The question: How much does the demographic shift affect observable patriotic behavior—and, perhaps, installation of a more liberal administration in Washington, D.C. diminishing Donald Trump’s brand of rah-rah Americanism? I ask because this Fourth of July noticeably differs from every other seen since our first here in 2008. Most notable: The significantly smaller number of U.S. flags hanging from houses or multi-unit dwellings and absence from Park Blvd, which is the main business street. Other reasons may include progressives’ success spotlighting the country’s racial wrongs. Dunno, but I can say that this year’s celebration is muted—more so than even during pandemic lockdowns. Also observed: A surge in rainbow flags, which considerably outnumber the Stars and Stripes—that, too, diverges from all previous years.

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Finally, Charming Restoration

I read somewhere—and, damn, can’t recollect where—that this beautiful building, and cottage studios below, was early in the last Century a residence for nurses. But I have no source that confirms fact. Apologies for that, although my confidence is high. With so many structures stripped to the studs as part of massive renovations—or, worse, leveled and replaced by tasteless high-rises—this property’s makeover preserves past character. To whomever owns the multi-rental place, huge thanks.

My first real experience with this landmark goes back to Christmas Day 2016, when I met Comet, Herman, RomanWillow, and their owner; all four animals are profiled in my “Cats of University Heights” series. She had lived in a studio apartment for 19 years, but not for much longer. A few months later, nearly all the cottage residents moved out to make way for contractors, who spent much of 2017 renovating the courtyard buildings.

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The Flower Power House Goes Dark

This is unexpected. The flower power house that I photographed on April 8, 2021 and posted here three weeks ago has gone black—as you can see from the Featured Image taken today, using Leica Q2. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/7.1, ISO 100, 1/250 sec, 28mm; 9:38 a.m. PDT.

Obviously, some kind of renovation is underway, which the mural made lively—and that was a refreshing sight in a neighborhood where the clank, clank, clank of construction obliterates the soothing chatter of birds and occasional caw of crows. In these dark days of segregation and tribalism, fueled in part by so-called social justice warriors and their opponents, the repainting is a mood metaphor. Someone cancelled the expressive art. So let’s stretch it all into a symbol of cancel culture

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Welcome to the San Diego Housing Boom (I Mean Bubble)

Gulp. San Diego home prices are skyrocketing far worse than my recent essays report. For some unexplainable algorithmic reason, a short news clip from the local Fox affiliate popped up in my YouTube feed, reporting rapid rise in the median home price. One year ago: $671,000. One month ago: $800,000. Currently: $825,000. The clip doesn’t cite a source and my quick online news search didn’t find one. By my math, the annual increase is 22.9 percent. Yikes.

Let’s look at one property on North Avenue in my neighborhood of University Heights. On Dec. 29, 2019, I captured the Featured Image, which because of uncharacteristic underexposure by Leica Q required extensive post-production correction and refinement. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/125 sec, 28mm; 10:21 a.m. PST.