“Living In the City” is the San Diego Sun‘s feature Q&A with downtown San Diego residents. It’s a way to get to know the city by meeting the people who live here. This is an ongoing series.
Name: Kaushal Patel
Location: East Village
Personal Deets: I’ve been downtown 11 years. Born in Chicago, moved here from Atlanta and first found an amazing, spacious penthouse in Little Italy with a wraparound balcony. I’m a realtor with Windemere Homes & Estates.
Best reason to live downtown: The energy! On any given day it’s an adventure when you walk out your door. There’s so much to do. You definitely get your steps in. And, boating on the bay is a great way to spend the day!
Best aspect of your current location: In East Village, I can walk to the bay and to Padres games at Petco Park in a few minutes. Little Italy and Columbia are a quick, mile walk away. And I’m always seeing a new place to try or check out—even after living downtown for more than a decade.
Kaushal keeps tabs on the condo market.
Housing costs: The prices for condos have continued to climb and our inventory is shrinking. The rents on luxury apartments are as much as a mortgage for a home.
HOA fees: As an agent, I do see that HOA fees are costly in some buildings. Although, the fees do cover building maintenance and amenities (roof, sewer, landscaping, water, trash) which adds up quickly in a single-family home.
Infrastructure: San Diego is a young downtown compared to Chicago or New York. Keep in mind, we have lots of great projects in the works including: Horton Plaza, which is being transformed into retail and office space, and IQHQ’s Research and Development District (RaDD). A Ritz Carlton Hotel is being planned. And downtown is finally getting a Target.
Events: I love grabbing a picnic and listening to music at the new Rady Shell at Jacobs Park. There’s Opening Day at Petco Park, and Comic-Con! I’ll grab a table at Fifth and Rose or Lou & Mickey’s and enjoy the free people-watching show for Comic-Con. It’s sensory overload!
The Rady Shell at Jacobs Park, outdoor home of the San Diego Symphony.
Walking/biking/driving: I walk as much as possible, whether it’s to my gym, Fit, the bank, hair or nail salon, to grab vino at The Wine Bank, restaurants, Padres games, networking events or showings.
Parking advice: Prepare to pay on game days and give yourself an extra 30 minutes to find parking, especially in Little Italy.
Biggest pet peeve: People not picking up after their dogs. I see it way too often. I wish the city would power wash the sidewalks every other week.
Scooters: I think they are dangerous. I feel riders who don’t use the designated lanes created for bikes and scooters and ride on the sidewalk should be fined.
Safety: I feel safe walking downtown. Bike Patrol and officers patrol the streets. If you are feeling uneasy, Clean & Safe can escort you. That said, there are parts of East Village I won’t walk alone at night—14th and C Street/Broadway. I also avoid walking past 15th and J at night.
Homelessness: Some people with mental illness tend to scare me from time to time. I give out food almost weekly. Smiling and saying hello doesn’t hurt. You’d be surprised at how being kind can make a difference.
Oh, honey! Focaccia di recco at Davanti Enoteca in Little Italy.
Lunch place(s): You can’t go wrong with Meze‘s chicken gyro or spanakopita. Basic for their mashed potato-and-bacon pizza (don’t knock it ’til you try it with spicy marinara). Also, I love the focaccia di recco at Davanti Enoteca, with their arugula salad for lunch.
Dinner spot: Everything on the menu is insanely good at Callie—Baba ghanoush, feta salad, lamb chops, tuna carpaccio, Parma ham, pappardelle, squid ink bucatini. And, you have to get the eureka lemon pavlova for dessert.
Bar(s): Fifth and Rose (Pendry Hotel), Waterfront Bar & Grill, Barbusa, Born & Raised, Callie.
Coffee shop(s): My all-time favorite place is Cafe de l’Opera. The owner makes fresh croissants every morning to have with your dirty chai. Modern Times has a great vibe. I also like Achilles Coffee off Park. They have coffee you can buy with several San Diego neighborhoods on the label. Great gift idea!
Food shopping: Traders Joe’s in Hillcrest or Mission Valley. Aside from food, downtown’s Grocery Outlet and Smart & Final have plenty of good deals on essentials.
Best insider tip: I’ve always believed in our downtown. Buy a condo before you get priced out! SDSun
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