Abandoned TV 2

What’s up with abandoned TVs in San Diego? I found another one while on my bike commute between Golden Hill and UCSD. This is on the bike path along the I-5. I had to use my Treo 700p camera and I’m surprised by the quality of the photo. Unfortunately, the lighting was bad during that time of day.

If you have any pics to add to my collection, let me know!

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Downtown views from Axos condos

Axos condos Bankers Hill

I love living in Banker’s Hill and my apartment has a gorgeous view of downtown San Diego. So I was very excited to see the new Axos condo development in Bankers Hill. From the outside, it looks to have great views of downtown. I took a tour last weekend with my agent and got a good idea of what is coming. The entire place is still under construction, but I was able to see a few units.

The Axos development is a condo conversion of apartments built in the early 90’s. The developer is creating a mediterranean environment with lots of stone walkways and pools of water surrounding the area. Should be very nice when finished.

What made me interested in the property are the views of downtown San Diego. There are three stories of units and as you go higher the views get better. The first floor isn’t very nice because your views are of the top of the houses near the unit. Not exactly something I would spend a lot of money for. The second floor is an improvement, but I’m still not getting excited.

The third floor is where I’m looking to buy. It has stellar views of downtown and you no longer have to look at the top of these crummy houses surrounding the property. If I was going to buy, the third floor would be the unit I would get. The second floor is decent and the first floor is not an option.

Re price the top floor units run between $750,000 and $785,000. Personally, for that kind of money I’m NOT going to buy in Bankers Hill. I’m going to Hillcrest or La Jolla if I could afford those dollars. Yes, the views are stellar, but the condo market in San Diego is in a downturn. Why pay a premium for property now when the market will be saturated in 2007?

The two bedroom units on the first and second floor units go for $500,00 to $580,000 (I didn’t check on the one bedrooms). One interesting point is that the units facing 21st street (i.e. no view of downtown) are priced exactly $30,000 less than the unit facing downtown. What??? The selling point for these condos is the downtown view. If I don’t get that, then I better be paying a lot less than just $30,000. For a $600,000 property, dropping the price by $30,000 isn’t much of an incentive to take the street view.

Again, I think this is overvalued. Now, if they put that price tag on the top floor units, I would have bought one that day. But that is not the case, so I’m still looking.
Here is what I think is wrong with the units:

  • Windows are too small. With stellar views of downtown just right outside of my condo, I want big picture windows to enjoy it with. Instead, the windows are small and I have to go onto the patio to see enjoy the views.
  • It’s freaking noisy! The condos sit right next to the I-5 / 163 interstate crossover. That’s a lot of traffic to listen to. Not only that, but you are just south of the Lindbergh Field flight path. So you get airplane noise as well.

What I like about the units:

  • The sound insulation is excellent. With your windows closed the traffic noise is almost completely blocked out.
  • The mediterranean motif is really going to be nice. They are gutting the place and putting in ponds and possibly a waterfall in the central area. When friends visit, they will be very impressed.
  • The views of downtown from the patio rock. Nuff said.

Other misc notes: The HOA fees haven’t been decided yet, but I was told to expect them in the $200+ range. The one bedrooms and cheaper 2 bedrooms get one parking spot. The most expensive two bedrooms get two parking spots.

The Axos condos are being developed by Urban Pacific Group. Their website is brand new as of this writing, so hopefully by the time you read this it will be finished. They also have the developments Suncrest Court Condos in the Adams Avenue Area, and Primavera condos in National City.

Axos Condos in Golden Hill
21s and B Street

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Kill Bin Laden

San Diego is a big military town, so it’s very common to see supporters of the war. I pulled up next to this truck in the Clairemont Mesa area, and I was a bit shocked to see how clearly this guy made his beliefs known. I have no idea what type of machine gun is propped up in the back of his truck, but it’s very lethal. The only problem with this picture is that if the guy wants to kill Bin Laden so badly, then he should learn how to spell his name right. 🙂

Kill Bin Laden truck painting

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La Boheme condos – San Diego real estate drops?

La Boheme in Northpark San Diego


This page is the most popular page on my blog b/c everyone is researching the La Boheme condos. Please leave your comments or new information so that we can all learn from it. Thanks.

In January I was driving through the North Park area and I saw a new condo development that was being built: La Boheme. I was very intrigued because it was in the heart of the North Park redevelopment area. You could walk out your door and be within a few yards of the newest restaurants and shops. And just around the corner is the North Park Theater hosting the San Diego Lyrical Opera. How exciting!

To make a long story short, I was on the verge of buying a condo until I noticed that a group of townhouses on the same block were for sale as well. When I looked at the townhouses, they were much nicer than the condos, had ALL the upgrades, had a private garage and were in the same price range as the condos. What struck me as odd was that the townhouses weren’t selling. If the townhouses weren’t selling, then that doesn’t speak well for the future of the La Boheme condos which weren’t nearly as nice.

It has been five months since I made this discovery and my theory appears to be correct. When I originally talked to the sales rep they were offering me $10,000 towards closing costs if I bought by the end of January. It is now the end of June and they are still advertising that offer. Not only that, but they are now giving you two years of no HOA fees as well. That’s a huge incentive.

In my opinion, the ploy of giving you $10K towards closing costs is probably a scam b/c these lenders are known for giving you a worse deal than you can get elsewhere. And you know that the developer is getting a kickback too. So it’s not costing them anything to give you this offer. But to give you two years of no HOA fees is the equivalant of taking money out of their pockets. They would only do this if they were desperate.

Oh yeah, remember those townhouses that were right around the corner and were a much better deal? Out of eight townhouses, five months later three are still unsold. Doesn’t look good for either place. La Boheme is a 300 unit complex. That’s a lot of units to sell in a market where people aren’t buying. And my new theory about why they don’t list all the properties for sale at one time – so you don’t realize how many units they still have to sell.

For the past five years, the San Diego real estate market has been known for selling properties on the same day they are listed. People often got into bidding wars. Those days are long gone. Now properties sit on the market for months without selling. How quickly things change.

Here is the link to La Boheme and here.

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Sipz Restaurant Review

Sipz is a vegetarian restaurant with a twist. The menu has many meat type dishes listed, but they are all “mock” meats. Yes, everything is tofu! The menu lists Chinese, Vietnamese and Thai. entrees. Some are Sweet and Sour Pork, Chicken with Basil, and Crunchy Chowmein.

Even though all the meats are “mock”, the entrees are delicious and you won’t notice that you are eating vegetarian. Their San Diego locations are in Clairemont and Poway.

A full review is posted here: Sipz Vegetarian Fuzion

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Cavite – Phillippine terrorism movie

cavite terrorism plot in phillipines

On Saturday I went to see the new release of the movie, Cavite, in Hillcrest. Even though the film has a very limited released at the Landmark theaters, it got some good write-ups and the plot sounded interesting. To my surprise, both of the directors were there to promote the movie.

Ian Gamazon and Neill Dela Llana both went to school in San Diego and were on hand to answer questions about the movie. I'm not going to go into all the details, but I found it interesting that these two guys created this film stricly by saving up their money from their day jobs. After filming the movie, they had to sell their equipment to pay for editting it. In all, the project cost them $7,000.

I really enjoyed the movie. It was quite suspenseful the majority of the time. It started out pretty slow with the lead character Adam (played by Ian?) in the airport talking to his girlfriend about her being pregnant. This dragged on for quite a while and I was starting to wonder when something would happen. Luckily, things picked up when Adam's mom wasn't at the airport and he gets a phone call from a terrorist saying that he had to do what he was told if he wanted to see his mom and sister again. From that point forward Adam is directed to travel all over the city of Cavite in the Phillipines carry out the order of the terrorist (who seems to know Adam's every move). The movie also addresses the moral delimma of deciding just how important your family really is.

My favorite parts of the movie were seeing the dark side of the Phillipines. Adam has to travel through some pretty seedy parts of the country and it shows us a bleak picture of that part of the country and the conditions that the people are living in.

I really enjoyed seeing the cultural parts of the country. While being driven around in a jeepney, Adam is instructed to go to a market and buy a balut egg and eat it. This is an egg with a chick actually in it and the juice from the egg looks pretty disgusting. They also showed scenes from a cock fight (not very pretty) where the rooster dies (don't tell the animal rights people about this movie). The terrorist also spoke in tagalog the entire time while Adam would respond in English. This gave authenticity to the movie.

Considering that this is not a mainstream movie, you may not get a chance to ever see it. But I definitely enjoyed it and was glad that I got a chance to meet Ian and Neill.

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Nine-Ten restaurant in La Jolla San Diego

It seems apropos that Nine-Ten is tucked away on the corner of the Grande Colonial Hotel with no view of the Ocean, though it is within earshot of it. For here, you come for the Epicurean experience. Not sunset, not décor (simple but elegant), not beautifully appointed people (though there are no lack of them here), and certainly not to pick-up a date.

All of these things might distract you from the really good and imaginatively cooked food. The "Espresso and Chocolate Braised Boneless Short Rib" is one such example. It's tender, subtle, intriguing and – most importantly – delicious. The wine list has received commendations from no less an authority than the Wine Spectator. The three-course lunch special for $24 is a steal, especially if pick for your entree scallops with risotto and chocolate molten cake for dessert. The two of alone adds up to $24. Incidentally, at least for dinners, don't expect to zip in and out of Nine-Ten. Though the cuisine is American, the kitchen psyche is very French. Expect long lapses between courses.

910 Prospect Street
La Jolla, CA 92037

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Moondoggies for beer, margaritas and sports

This popular sports bar in Pacific Beach is where the post-college-twenty-something types show up every weekend to relive the spirit of Spring Break.
Think loud music, think TV screens, think taut bodies and copious quantities of beer and margaritas. The food is surprisingly good and somewhat urbane for a meat market establishment like this. The burgers come with blue cheese and, in truly Californian fashion, the menu, which changes regularly, has been known to feature seared ahi with wasabi aioli, Fajitas and even risotto. The line gets long late in the evening. The heated patio is the ideal place to see and be seen.

832 Garnet Ave
San Diego 92109

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Dizzy’s in San Diego for live jazz

Chuck Perrin, owner of Dizzy's in the Gaslamp, envisioned a temple for unadulterated enjoyment of live jazz when he opened Dizzy's. He succeeded. You come here to listen to music, most of it performed with passion and energy, and nothing else. Perrin has kept the space – in a former warehouse right by the gleaming new Petco Park, open and sparse. The seats are foldout chairs lined up neatly before a small stage. And he sells only tea and coffee as an afterthought. But nobody seems to mind and the calendar is packed. Thus far, the venue has seen Grammy nominated Chris Walden Big Band to Orquesta Binacional de Mambo (Latin Big BandMusic) to local jazz musicians like Peter Sprague.

On their website you'll find a calendar, photo gallery and more info.

Dizzy's – Where the music matter most
344 Seventh Ave
San Diego, CA 92101

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Great photography tips blog

While researching which digital camera to buy, I came across a great blog with tips on improving your digital photography skills. I added a permanent link to my bookmarks section (on the right) so you can check it out. Here is the blog topic that made me discover the site. It's just some simple comments about how to hold a camera to get the best shots, but very informative for amateurs like me: holding a camera.

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