“How many neighbors have realtors cold-calling them and sending them mail asking if we are interested in selling,” said Cherokee Point resident Frederick Simson in a Nextdoor post recently. “I get about one letter a week from various flippers offering an all cash deal, and one phone call a month on my answering machine from realtors saying they have buyers interested in moving here.”
Simson has been living in the Cherokee Point neighborhood (in the middle of North Park and City Heights, off of 36th Street) since January 1993. He and his partner originally purchased their house for $85,000. “The current value ($486,000.00) is unreal to me,” he said, “[and] I am paying off the mortgage next month.”
In the next month, 7-Eleven will be moving in, just a block away from Simson’s street at 3515 University Avenue. On March 1, a Public Notice of Application for Ownership Change banner was posted on the window of the soon-to-close Market Place Liquor Store.
Shortly thereafter, a Cherokee Point resident mentioned 7-Eleven moving in. Residents had mixed reactions on a big business moving into their predominantly mom-and-pop business strip on University Avenue (between the 805 and 15 freeways). The post garnered 57 comments (as of March 19). Some locals are worried that other investors will follow.
“I have a realtor friend that said ‘this is the last gentrify-able neighborhood in the city and 92105 is too scary (due to new immigrants) to gentrify,'” Simson posted on the thread.
Kenneth Adelson, a North Park resident, did not agree with Simson's realtor friend, and said so in this post: “There’s no such thing as last gentrifiable neighborhood. Neighborhoods change for better and for worse, there are always opportunities. The description of the area sounds like calling Middletown, ‘South Mission Hills.’ It’s misleading marketing, which is kind of obnoxious. I’d overlook it in isolation; but combined with commentary about 92105, new immigrants, and scary, that’s stunningly judgmental about complete strangers.”
Adelson, like Simson, received cold calls for his home in North Park. “Somehow, my cell phone number got listed in places that realtors check and was associated with a house where the listing was pulled or something like that. I got 20 calls the first day, a dozen more the next.”
Bianca lived in the Asana Apartments (the blue and gray complex to the east of the I-805 and University Avenue exit) and is house shopping in the area. She said it wasn’t her making cash offers to the homeowners.
“North Park is super expensive,” Bianca said. “I’m looking at Cherokee Point, where it’s still close to the cool spots; but I gotta stop at the 15 freeway, though.” She added that as you move east on University, especially past Interstate 15, the house prices for rent and purchase, decrease, “… and I’m just not comfortable [to purchase] at City Heights.”
Many residents are moving into Cherokee Point because of its proximity to the North Park area.
“The overlap and confusion comes from the US Postal Service boundary between zip codes 92104 and 92105,” Simson said, “which is the alley between Cherokee Avenue and 37th Street. Since realtors use zip codes as identifiers of neighborhoods, they promote and market everything up to that alley as a part of North Park, when in fact it is actually not a part of North Park. Anything to make a sale.”
Bianca agreed with Simson. She said that when she first rented at the Asana Apartments, the manager said the complex was in North Park because of the 92104 zip code. “But we had to walk across the  freeway to go to the real North Park.”
Simson confirmed that Interstate 805 should be the cutoff for North Park and that it used to be Boundary Street before the freeway was built. “The official boundaries of Cherokee Point are University Avenue to the north, State Route 15 to the east, Interstate 805 to the west, and the point where the two freeways cross to the south,” he said.
Bianca frequents the mariscos taco truck that parks in front of the soon-to-be 7-Eleven store. “I’m gonna be mad if that truck leaves our neighborhood,” she said, “but am more worried that the new 7-Eleven will raise the house prices in Cherokee Point before I buy.” She is concerned that the house flippers might soon follow.
Simson was apologetic regarding some of his posts on the Nextdoor website. “I am just communicating what I have heard others say about our area, to make residents aware of the geographic discrimination that still exists to this day. I apologize if I made the impression that I agreed with any of it,” he said.
He believes the houses in the Cherokee Point neighborhood will remain around the same price range and hopes that other businesses will replace old ones.
“I doubt that the 7-Eleven by itself will have any effect on property values [in Cherokee Point] at all,” Simson said, “it will just be another convenience store, albeit cleaner and better looking. I would love to see the Star and Garter and the little white adult bookstore beside it torn down and replaced. In the 25 years I have lived here I have seen this area rise like a phoenix early on and slump back into decay more recently. The 7-Eleven can only be an improvement.”