Neighborhoods of La Mesa: Griffen Park (Murray Street)
This is a the another in the series on the neighborhoods of the area I primarily work, which includes La Mesa, San Carlos, El Cajon and Santee. This time I'm moving to the eastern side of La Mesa, the area around Harry Griffen Park and Grossmont High School.
Griffen Park is probably the largest park in La Mesa. There's probably enough grass for a soccer league, a Pop Warner league, and a softball league to hold all their weekly games at the same time without interfering with each other:
The Griffen Park neighborhood is bounded by Grossmont Center, Interstate 8, El Cajon City Limits, and Amaya Drive. The area immediately across Interstate 8 is pretty similar, which shouldn't be a surprise because this was originally one neighborhood that was split when the interstate came through. Once you're off the main streets, it's quiet. There's even a hidden area that feels like the country that you can miss if you don't know where to look.
The main commercial artery in the area is Murray Street, which would feel almost like the main street of a one stoplight town if Interstate 8 wasn't right next to it. There's maybe a couple dozen businesses there, and that includes places of worship and Grossmont High School. The rest of the area is all residential except for Griffen Park.
The homes were mostly built in the 1950s, with a significant percentage being built up to 30 years earlier. There are a few modern infill developments, the largest of which is off Milden Street behind the high school. The houses probably average 3 to 4 bedroom, right around 1600 square feet, on lots of about 7000 square feet. There are more tract homes here than in most other neighborhoods of La Mesa, but they've had the time to get added onto, so when you're driving through the neighborhoods, they don't look like somebody made them all with the same cookie cutter. There isn't much high density housing here - one fairly new townhome project is the only common interest development I can think of. This neighborhood is about 99 percent single family detached homes with no HOA. Not surprisingly, there usually aren't a lot of properties for sale in the area. As of right now, there's one beater with an ask of $300,000, but the next lowest asking price is $430,000, and they go up to $800,000. Families making San Diego Area Median Income (a little over $72,000 per year) will probably need a significant down payment to qualify for all but the cheapest homes in the neighborhood.
This is not a dense urban neighborhood. The streets are fairly straight, but there aren't always sidewalks, and other than nosy agents, there just aren't a lot of people in the area who don't live here, especially once you get off of Murray and Severin, where the easiest freeway access is. It's a pretty quiet place to live for the most part, and you would definitely get the wrong impression if you only drove the commercial streets.
The neighborhood school is Northmont. The Middle School is Parkway Middle School (formerly Parkway Junior High), and the high school is Grossmont High School, the oldest high school in the Grossmont District. Here's the most recent account Grossmont Accountability Report Card
The Griffen Park neighborhood is very well connected to freeway access. There's onramps to and offramps from Interstate 8 at Severin Drive, and you can get to CA 125 pretty easy, too. If you're not on the freeway going the direction you want within a couple minutes of pulling out of your driveway, you're doing it wrong. There's three supermarkets within five minutes and you don't have to get on the freeway. For that matter, Murray Drive drops right into Grossmont Center, and you don't need or want to get on the freeway for that, either. You can get to Mission Valley in fifteen minutes, downtown in 20. The San Diego Trolley runs along Amaya and Water before it crosses Interstate 8 to go down into El Cajon, and there's a station at Amaya.
Major shopping centers are found at Grossmont Center (Target, Wal-Mart, Macy's, Theaters and dining), which is within five minutes, and you can take the trolley or bicycle over. Parkway Plaza (Sears, Wal-Mart, Penneys, theaters) in El Cajon is roughly ten minutes, College Grove (Wal Mart, Sam's Club, Target) about the same.
If you'd like to talk more about Griffen Park 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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