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Tierrasanta City Overview

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Known as the "Island in the Hills", Tierrasanta is a small bedroom community in San Diego, surrounded by open public land rather than other cities, creating its "island" feel. It was one of the first master-planned communities in San Diego, with nearly 850 acres of dedicated open space.

Tierrasanta, Spanish for "holy land," was originally part of the Mission San Diego de Alcalá mission ranch, active during the late 1700s and 1800s. The U.S. military purchased the land in 1941 as Camp Elliot, a Marine Corps training facility. In 1961 the area that is now Tierrasanta was declared surplus and sold; the community of Tierrasanta was founded in 1971. Most of the homes were built in the ‘80s and ‘90s, and today, the city's population is just above 30,000.

Just a 20-minute drive from downtown San Diego, Tierrasanta is bordered by the Mission Trails Regional Park on the east, Interstate 15 on the west, Highway 52 to the north, and on the south by steep canyons overlooking the San Diego River and Mission Valley.

Numerous green belts with walking paths run through the canyons. Tierrasanta is a thriving area of upscale single family homes, condominiums and apartments, along with three shopping centers, a branch of the San Diego Public Library, and a research park. The area is best known for the 5,800-acre Mission Trails Regional Park, with its miles of hiking and mountain biking trails. Community activities focus on the Tierrasanta Recreation Center, which includes lighted ball fields, a large swimming pool, tennis courts, a gymnasium, and meeting rooms. The community holds a yearly Tierrafest and Craft Fair.

Tierrasanta students attend schools in the San Diego City School District; several elementary and junior high schools are rated in the top 10% to 30% through Academic Performance Index (API) tests by the California Education Department. Junípero Serra High School, named #119 of the top high schools in America by Newsweek Magazine in May 2006.

Tierrasanta homes have been built into varied sloping canyons, creating naturally split neighborhoods. A 2,300-unit Navy housing development accounts for roughly one-fifth of the area's homes. The wide-open spaces and master-planned benefits make this area very desirable, and real estate typically doesn't last long on the market. Currently, one-bedroom condos start in the mid $300,000s; three-bedroom, single-family homes are available from the mid-$400,000s.