Neighborhoods of La Mesa: Rolando

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This is a new series I'm starting, on the neighborhoods of the area I primarily work, which includes La Mesa, San Carlos, El Cajon and Santee.

This area is bounded by 70th street, University Avenue, the San Diego border (which is highly irregular) and El Cajon Boulevard. On the San Diego side of the border, the neighborhood is similar until you get west of Aragon Drive and Rolando Boulevard. North of El Cajon Boulevard is all San Diego, and is also similar. East of 70th Street is a slightly older area of La Mesa with fewer trees centered upon Harbison Drive. South of University Avenue is Vista La Mesa.

The main commercial arteries serving the area are El Cajon Boulevard and University Avenue, there being no commercial activity on 70th Street away from the two main intersections.

Here is a photograph of University Avenue, as seen westbound from 70th. Joan Kroc Community Center occupies the center of the photo on the far side of University Avenue. They have everything from recreation classes to religious meetings to community programs and daycare. (click for whole picture)

University W from 70th

Best Produce sits just out of the previous photo to the left, on the southwest corner of the intersection of 70th and University. If you want real fresh produce, you have the choice of them or Henry's on Spring Street.

The actual La Mesa area of Rolando is fairly small, but it shares character with the San Diego side. The neighborhood is mature, with a very large number of trees, as you will see, for instance. The main "neighborhood street" is Tower Street, on which sits Rolando School. (Tower changes its name to Solita at the San Diego border). (click for whole picture)


Once you're away from the main arteries, there really isn't much in the way of high density housing. Most of the neighborhood is single family residences, built during the 1950s if not before. The subdivision maps were laid out in the early 1900s, but not filled in until the post-war period. Any housing built since about 1960 is mostly replacement for an earlier original. The vast majority of houses are unique - I cannot think of a single tract development in the entire area. Every house is different from every other. This characteristic is pretty common in La Mesa, something most of the residents love.

Physically, the houses are mostly single story 3 and 4 bedroom, 1.5 to 2 bath houses from around 1200 square feet to around 1600, sitting on lots of about 6500 to 8000 square feet. In the fifty years since the neighborhood was built out, many have had additions, of course, as the lots have plenty of room. Many use the older pier support, but concrete foundations became mandatory while the neighborhood was in the later stages. Foundation issues and settling are rare, and those that existed have mostly long since been dealt with. Hardwood floors are more rule than exception. Asking prices start around $340,000 for something very livable, and go to just under $500,000. A family making San Diego Area Median Income of $72,100 can qualify for these properties fairly easily.

The thing that stands out about the neighborhood is how quiet it is. Many people seem to think it should have more of the character of the main streets, but once you are off those main streets, there's just nobody here but your neighbors (along with an occasional inquisitive realtor, of course!), and 95% of them live in detached single family residences. It's hard to take a picture a lot of places without trees blocking most of it.

Here's Alamo street, looking East from 68th: (click for whole picture)

Alamo E from 68th

Here's Rolando Knolls, looking East from Elma Lane: (click for whole picture)

RolandoKnolls Elma E

And here's the Rolando Little League Field, on Vigo: (click for whole picture)

Rolando LL

One thing the neighborhood does not have an abundance of is the panoramic views that happen through most of La Mesa. There are many properties with nice views, but the area is flatter than most of La Mesa, and it's hills that make for that kind of views!

The neighborhood school is Rolando Elementary, the Middle School is La Mesa Middle School (formerly La Mesa Junior High), and the high school is Helix Charter. Helix, in particular, has a long record of academic achievement. Here's the most recent account Helix Accountability Report Card

The closest community college is Grossmont, the closest four year college is San Diego State University, which is actually closer.

Here's the front of Rolando School, on Tower just west of 70th. Sunshine Park is immediately adjacent to the south. (click for whole picture)

Rolando 1

Rolando is a very nice neighborhood to live in, with great central transportation. It's two minutes to Interstate 8 via 70th street, 5 minutes to CA 94 via Massachusetts. You have your choice of several major supermarkets within a mile or so. You can get to Mission Valley in ten minutes, downtown in 15. The San Diego Trolley runs adjacent to Interstate 8, and has stops at Alvarado Hospital and just east of 70th Street, and El Cajon Boulevard and University Avenue are both bus routes. Major shopping centers are found in College Grove (Wal Mart, Sam's Club, Target) at College and 94, or Grossmont Center (Target, Wal-Mart, Macy's, Theaters and dining) at Interstate 8 via Jackson and Grossmont Center Drive exits.

If you'd like to talk more about Rolando or any other neighborhood of La Mesa, Contact me. I will be happy to discuss which neighborhoods might be right for you, or the marketing of your current property.


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This page contains a single entry by Dan Melson published on July 23, 2008 4:00 PM.

New Consumer Article July 23, 3008 was the previous entry in this blog.

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