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Great restaurants, shopping and lifestyle in the Golden Triangle

The first thing you notice when you drive down the main drag in University City is all the tall buildings. Most of them are topped with names of big-money companies - Union Bank, Citi, Barney & Barney, City National Bank, Wells Fargo, ComericA Bank, New York Life - or hotels - Embassy Suites, Marriott, Hyatt. Then you see that, hey, people actually live here, too. Clumps of multi-story apartment buildings and swaths of townhomes almost seem strategically placed within walking distance of the businesses and the regional shopping mall in the center of it all, Westfield Shoppingtown UTC.

Strike "almost seem." In fact, University City was one of the first areas of San Diego to have a community plan in place, according to city planner Dan Monroe. A plan adopted by the San Diego City Council in 1987 said what once was considered a college town feeding UCSD had evolved into a major "urban node," partly due to construction of the outdoor mall, expansion of the Torrey Pines science-research area, and improved access to mass transit. It added: "The current prospects for the community . . . is one of high-intensity, innovative, mixed-use development on a scale unmatched by any new urbanizing community of the City."

university city building
The La Jolla Crossroads apartment complex on the east edge of University City, south of La Jolla Village Drive, has 1500 units.

The community got its nickname, The Golden Triangle, in the mid-1980s because most of it lay in a triangle-shape of land bordered by Interstate 5, Interstate 805 and State Route 52, according to the University City Community Association.

Its 8,500-acre planning area stretches across the I-5 freeway to include the University of California San Diego, Torrey Pines State Park, Scripps Green Hospital, and the science-research area including biotech-pharmaceutical companies such as Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson.

About 50,000 people live in University City, and "it has a very large employment base," Monroe said. Also inside the community are Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla, the new city library branch off Nobel Drive, Rose Canyon preserve, Torrey Pines Municipal Golf Course, and the San Diego temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

University Towne Center
The Westfield Shoppingtown UTC mall is centrally located, close to high-rise business buildings, hotels and housing.

Miramar Naval Air Station is east of town, and Marine jets and helicopters can be seen and heard daily in the skies overhead.

Not every local resident lives in multi-story apartments or condominiums. There are many traditional single-family homes in the south, between Governor Drive and Marian Bear Memorial Park along SR 52, in San Clemente Canyon, for example.

But Carol Matson, a land-use planner for Garden Communities, says high-rise apartment complexes are attractive to some segments of San Diego's population, including UCSD students, older citizens and members of the military service.

Her company's modern-looking project on the east edge of town, La Jolla Crossroads, holds a whopping 1500 apartments, from studios to one-, two- and three-bedroom units, with rents ranging from $1200 to $2800 a month. The five-story complex has a movie theater, kids playroom, seniors lounge, dry cleaners, beauty salon, and fitness facilities including a day spa, cardio equipment, aerobics and pilates studios, and a racquetball court.

Matson said University City is a nice place to live, and she likes working here.
Although cars are obviously the transportation of choice in town, the shopping center and local restaurants are within walking distance for many residents, and if you live a little too far away, the SuperLoop public transit buses can help you get where you're going.
"It's an area where you can live, work and play," she said.

University City Crossroad Apartments
The La Jolla Crossroads apartment complex on the east edge of University City, south of La Jolla Village Drive, has 1500 units.

Copyright 2015



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