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The revolving door of El Cajon Blvd.

Uber-Lyft car rentals gone; 44 Ollie North lofts looming

North Park Jewelry's owner Vincent said he planned to “buy a boat and go fishing.”
North Park Jewelry's owner Vincent said he planned to “buy a boat and go fishing.”

New construction in North Park/University Heights has been expected for years now, and it’s now in full swing.

Along central El Cajon Boulevard, from near 30th Street and beyond, the changes are beginning to reshape this working-class neighborhood of mostly old and rundown, single-family houses. But just try to buy a house here (because you can’t afford one in North Park or South Park), and you will likely be shocked. A totally renovated house off El Cajon in Normal Heights sold in September for $785,000. That three-bedroom, two-bath home of 1025-square-feet is about 80 years old. It includes a small rental unit in back.

Ollie North Park building will have 44 apartments.

Previously on the southwest corner of El Cajon and Illinois, were three small businesses including Fuji's Aladdin Flowers, now located in National City. Sophia + Sam Design was right next door; it had a 5-star rating on Yelp. The other business on that corner was Soul Flow Studio. It was an art studio, event space and healing sanctuary.

Steve Aldana, community development coordinator at El Cajon Boulevard BIA, told me the project is Vadara Tower East (3085 El Cajon). He said that the board has historically been in favor of bringing more residents onto El Cajon Boulevard.” Vadara will have 60 residential units, with underground parking and retail spaces. On another day I zipped by the northeast corner of El Cajon Boulevard. and Illinois Street, and couldn’t miss the big sign: “GOING OUT OF BUSINESS. EVERYTHING MUST GO.” It turned out to be a longtime neighborhood pawn shop [two-star Yelp rating]. The name is North Park Jewelry & Loan.

Apartments on 33rd St.

I talked to owner Vincent briefly, as he was busy dealing with bargain hunters. Vincent said he was retiring, and planned to “buy a boat and go fishing.” He added that he didn’t own the building, located at 3104 El Cajon Boulevard, and there’s no lease/sale sign up yet. Just north of the pawn shop (at 4333 Illinois Street) is a large apartment building going up. It’s called Ollie North Park Lofts. [No relation to that Ollie North.]

The structure occupies a 17,500-square-foot parcel of land where old bungalows were razed. It will have 44 apartment units: 24 two-bedroom/two-bath, and 20 one-bedroom/one-bath. Parking will occupy two levels. There’s no indication yet of rental prices. Alliance Development Services, Inc. of Poway is building the apartment complex. That company is also building the Monsaraz Hotel in Point Loma.

Now gone from 3401 El Cajon is Maven Gig Rental Hub San Diego, a specialized car rental agency for Uber and Lyft drivers only. Next door at 3441 El Cajon is an empty lot, formerly the locale of Kars To Go, a Yelp 5-star-rated used-car business. It’s for lease. Continuing east to 3457-3465 El Cajon, there’s an available, two-story boarded-up building, It’s being offered as a lease, for retail and office, or event space on the upper floor with its 20-foot ceiling. Electro Lab, an electronics repair shop, was previously on the first floor.

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North Park Jewelry's owner Vincent said he planned to “buy a boat and go fishing.”
North Park Jewelry's owner Vincent said he planned to “buy a boat and go fishing.”

New construction in North Park/University Heights has been expected for years now, and it’s now in full swing.

Along central El Cajon Boulevard, from near 30th Street and beyond, the changes are beginning to reshape this working-class neighborhood of mostly old and rundown, single-family houses. But just try to buy a house here (because you can’t afford one in North Park or South Park), and you will likely be shocked. A totally renovated house off El Cajon in Normal Heights sold in September for $785,000. That three-bedroom, two-bath home of 1025-square-feet is about 80 years old. It includes a small rental unit in back.

Ollie North Park building will have 44 apartments.

Previously on the southwest corner of El Cajon and Illinois, were three small businesses including Fuji's Aladdin Flowers, now located in National City. Sophia + Sam Design was right next door; it had a 5-star rating on Yelp. The other business on that corner was Soul Flow Studio. It was an art studio, event space and healing sanctuary.

Steve Aldana, community development coordinator at El Cajon Boulevard BIA, told me the project is Vadara Tower East (3085 El Cajon). He said that the board has historically been in favor of bringing more residents onto El Cajon Boulevard.” Vadara will have 60 residential units, with underground parking and retail spaces. On another day I zipped by the northeast corner of El Cajon Boulevard. and Illinois Street, and couldn’t miss the big sign: “GOING OUT OF BUSINESS. EVERYTHING MUST GO.” It turned out to be a longtime neighborhood pawn shop [two-star Yelp rating]. The name is North Park Jewelry & Loan.

Apartments on 33rd St.

I talked to owner Vincent briefly, as he was busy dealing with bargain hunters. Vincent said he was retiring, and planned to “buy a boat and go fishing.” He added that he didn’t own the building, located at 3104 El Cajon Boulevard, and there’s no lease/sale sign up yet. Just north of the pawn shop (at 4333 Illinois Street) is a large apartment building going up. It’s called Ollie North Park Lofts. [No relation to that Ollie North.]

The structure occupies a 17,500-square-foot parcel of land where old bungalows were razed. It will have 44 apartment units: 24 two-bedroom/two-bath, and 20 one-bedroom/one-bath. Parking will occupy two levels. There’s no indication yet of rental prices. Alliance Development Services, Inc. of Poway is building the apartment complex. That company is also building the Monsaraz Hotel in Point Loma.

Now gone from 3401 El Cajon is Maven Gig Rental Hub San Diego, a specialized car rental agency for Uber and Lyft drivers only. Next door at 3441 El Cajon is an empty lot, formerly the locale of Kars To Go, a Yelp 5-star-rated used-car business. It’s for lease. Continuing east to 3457-3465 El Cajon, there’s an available, two-story boarded-up building, It’s being offered as a lease, for retail and office, or event space on the upper floor with its 20-foot ceiling. Electro Lab, an electronics repair shop, was previously on the first floor.

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