The campus of the University of California, San Diego, is where University City derives its name. UCSD is located on the western side of this community.
There are two distinct parts of University City, which are divided by Rose Canyon – the Rose Canyon Open Space preserve, and railroad tracks passing through it. South of Rose Canyon lies the older part of University City that is centered on Governor Drive. This area was built in the 1960s and is historically referred to as UC. Just southwest of the Governor Drive exit from I-805 is a commercially zoned area containing office parks with low-rise buildings. This area of UC was developed in the 1960’s and 1970’s and primarily consists of single-family homes, great schools, shopping and restaurants that exude a small town vibe.
The topography of University City includes mesas and canyons such as Rose Canyon, San Clemente Canyon, and finger canyons that provide much of the open space. The canyons provide wildlife habitats with about 100 bird species migrating through the area, plus natural views and opportunities for hiking, biking, and birding. The canyons are fire-managed and thus present small wildfire risks. In addition, motorists drive around the canyons, with I-5, Genesee Ave, and the I-805 being about 1 mile apart from each other.
The area north of Rose Canyon is typically referred to as the UTC, for University Towne Center. This area is comprised of denser housing, which includes condos, town homes, apartments, and senior housing. Condos here were generally built between the 1980’s and 1990’s, with several newer condos being condo conversions. The UTC is also home to midand high-rise commercial buildings that are home to a variety of professional services, law firms, banking institutions, and businesses affiliated with the University. The UTC is also a home to many of the high-tech, biotech, and clean-tech businesses, as well as research institutions that have become some of San Diego’s economic engines. Some of the more well known companies located in the UTC are Illumina,Senomyx, and Qualcomm.
The UTC is vibrant and offers the newly renovated Westfield Mall, many award-winning restaurants, multiple grocery stores, and easy freeway access. It is home to many first time homebuyers, University graduates, and young professionals who work in the area.
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