Neighborhoods of La Mesa: Maryland Avenue

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This is the fourth installment of 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.

The Maryland Avenue neighborhood is bounded by Lake Murray Park on the north, Lake Murray Boulevard on the west, Parkway Drive on the south, and on the east side, Guessman Avenue and Maryland Avenue itself. The area a little further east off Wellesley Street has a substantially different feel and flavor.

Macrae avenue, looking south:
Macrae Avenue

The main commercial artery serving the area is Parkway Drive, a frontage road for Interstate 8. Lake Murray Boulevard has a few businesses mostly right around the intersection of Parkway Drive, and is a major street, but once you get away from Parkway Drive, there's only four or five small stores, and the Starbucks at Kiowa is the only one that isn't basically a mom and pop operation.

A neighborhood mall on Parkway Drive. People come from quite a way off for the Chickenest Restaurant, just left of center (pinkish).
Chickenest center

Physically, the houses are mostly smaller, two and three bedroom houses of 1000 to 1200 square feet. Most were built on piers rather than concrete slabs. Many of them have been expanded since they were built, mostly in the 1940s and 1950s, and most of the lots are big by modern standards, 6000 to 7000 square feet. Hardwood floors are more the rule than the exception. Foundation issues and destructive settling weren't exactly unknown in the area, but mostly have been long since dealt with where they existed. Most have garages, split roughly half and half between one and two car varieties. Asking prices start about $320,000 and go up to about $480,000 for detached housing. People making San Diego Area Median Income can easily afford this area.

A typical view of the interior of the neighborhood, looking north on Kiowa Drive from the Intersection with Maryland Avenue:
Bottom of Kiowa

People drive by on the main roads in La Mesa, and assume the neighborhoods are the same, but they're not! If all I ever saw was the main roads, I might not want to live where I do, but knowing the neighborhoods, I love La Mesa!

There is some high density housing in this neighborhood, mostly on Kiowa and Maryland Avenue in the block just south of Lake Murray Boulevard. This area includes one of the only two sets of four bedroom townhomes I'm aware of in La Mesa. These are attractive to older people, those starting out with lots of kids, and others who need a fair amount of space (up to about 1800 square feet) but prefer not to do yard work themselves, like small business owners. Nonetheless, well over half the neighborhood residents are in detached single family dwellings.

Here's a picture of the kitchen of one of the four bedroom townhomes (I took it over a year ago). You can't see the vaulted ceiling they have through most of the living areas, but they are very nice for folks who like the convenience, and have their own garages. Play area for kids, pool, clubhouse - all the reasons some people like townhomes. I may not live there myself, but I certainly wouldn't have any objections to doing so!

Once you get a very small distance away from Parkway Drive and Lake Murray Blvd, the neighborhood is pretty quiet, and nobody aside from residents and real estate agents comes into it. You do get some freeway noise from Interstate 8 right on Parkway Drive and for a few doors to the north of it, but once you get more than a block into the neighborhood, you'd never know the freeway was there from the noise. A lot of this has to do with the fact that the neighborhood goes uphill from there, so the noise gets blocked out.

Maryland Avenue itself:
Maryland Avenue

Point of Interest: Computer Museum of America and Coleman College, in a building that was formerly La Mesa Bowl, on Parkway Drive. If you you're interested in computers, it's a fascinating place!
Computer Museum

The neighborhood schools are Maryland Avenue, which their website tells me is now a Smart Steps Preschool Site. 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. For some reason, lots of people not actually living in the area think that north of Interstate 8 goes to Grossmont High School, but this neighborhood goes to Helix - the real dividing line is approximately Jackson Drive, a mile or so further east.

Maryland Avenue School:
Maryland Ave school 2

The closest community college is Grossmont, the closest four year college is San Diego State University, which is actually closer, but both are very easy for residents of Maryland Avenue to got to and back from.

Just north of Lake Murray Boulevard is Lake Murray Park and Lake Murray itself, with all kinds of recreational activities from boating to jogging and hiking around the lake, to a golf course and driving range just across the lake. There are picnic tables and lots of parking if you decide not to walk over. Usually, there's fishing as well, but there's some kind of shellfish infesting the lake at this writing so that's kind of questionable.

The Lake Murray Boat Launch
LM Boat Launch

Lake Murray Picnic Area (Golf Course is on other side of lake behind the trees on the left) There's a 3.5 mile walking, jogging, and biking asphalt road that goes all around the lake except the dam itself.
Lake Murray 3

Maryland Avenue neighborhood residents find it easy to go places. It's two minutes or less to Interstate 8, and you don't even have to face any stoplights if you're headed west. There are two major supermarkets within a mile, and if you're a fan of fresh fish, there's a very good fresh fish store at Lake Murray Boulevard and Maryland Avenue. You can get to Mission Valley in less than ten minutes. The San Diego Trolley runs adjacent to Interstate 8, and has stops at Alvarado Hospital and just east of 70th Street. Lake Murray Boulevard is a bus route, and I believe Parkway Drive as well but I can't recall seeing one any time recently. The closest major shopping center is Grossmont Center (Target, Wal-Mart, Macy's, Theaters and dining), and lots of other commercial stuff (Costco, Babies R Us) along Fletcher Parkway, Baltimore and Jackson. College Grove (Wal Mart, Sam's Club, Target) at College and 94 is about three miles, or you can get to any of the major Mission Valley malls in about the same time by car.

If you'd like to talk more about Maryland Avenue 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 August 6, 2008 10:30 AM.

New Consumer Article: August 6th, 2008 was the previous entry in this blog.

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