University City (UTC) – Community Info

University City is a community of San Diego known by many names. Technically, a part of the city of San Diego, this area is known as University City, UTC, University Towne Centre, Golden Triangle & La Jolla East. Hopefully the following information will shed some light on how one small community could have garnered so many names.

The name Golden Triangle developed as a nickname as it is bounded by three freeways; I-5 to the west, I-805 to the northeast & R-52 to the south. The local news often refer to the area by this name. The University Towne Center shopping mall is located near the center of the area, while the campus of the University of California, San Diego, from whom the town derives many of it’s named referes is to the west. The local high school is University City High School. A lot of residents refer to the area simply as part of La Jolla, refering to the broad community to the west of I-5. Or as “East La Jolla,”as early on in development the area was officially connected and because these communities are all part of the city of San Diego, there are no official border between them.

There are two distinct parts of University City divided by Rose Canyon and the railroad tracks. South of Rose Canyon is the older part of University City, historically referred to as University Square, centered on Governor Drive. It is a mostly residential neighborhood along Governor Drive with many single family homes. A local strip mall at Governor and Genesee is anchored by a Vons grocery store and a Rite Aid pharmacy. Another strip mall anchored by Henry’s Marketplace is to the west at Governor and Regents. There are several elementary schools, parks, a middle school, and a library. Just southwest of the Governor Drive exit from I-805 is a commercially zoned area containing office parks with low-rise buildings.

South UC was developed primarily in the 1960s and 70s. The newer part of University City north of the Rose Canyon is usually referred to UTC (originally University Towne Centre). UTC and University City are sometimes used interchangeably to refer to the entire Golden Triangle area. Residents of South UC tend to be homeowners with a large population of retired persons, partly due to a retirement community east and south of Genesee.

UTC tends to be younger – young professionals, college graduates and university students. Also, more of the population of North UC rent rather than own their homes. There are several university owned off-campus housing projects for graduate students. UTC is more racially diverse, with Asians and Latinos as well as foreign nationals (often postgraduate researchers). The topography of University City is mesas and canyons such as Rose Canyon and San Clemente Canyon and their feeder canyons that provide most of the remaining open space. UTC is primarily condo and apartment complexes with a cluster of hotels and high rise office buildings with mostly financial services as tenants. Besides containing three local shopping centers, there is also a large regional shopping mall anchored by Sears and Macy’s. UTC also has some parks, an elementary school, and police and fire stations. The eastern mesas of UTC have recently been developed for industrial use, and are home to several biotech companies. The northern tip hosts the Center for Communications Research, a branch of the federally funded Institute for Defense Analyses that performs classified research for the National Security Agency. North UC was developed primarily in the 1980s and 90s, and rapid growth and development continue. Housing prices have increased in the mid 2000s along with the rest of San Diego, and there has been a strong drive to convert apartments to condos.