San Diego’s Hilltop Hideaway

Carefully designed for today’s busy lifestyles is Mesa Del Sol by Zephyr Partners — a single-family neighborhood that boasts city proximity but hones a small-town feel.

By Lauren Felechner
Photography by Zephyr Partners/Stephen Whalen Photography

Boasting a combination of convenience with historical value is Mesa Del Sol by Zephyr Partners, located in La Mesa, Calif. Nestled near downtown San Diego, Mesa Del Sol provides an affordable, small-town feel to the nearby bustling city life. The panoramic views of neighboring Point Loma and downtown exemplify the community’s hilltop location, accentuating Mesa Del Sol’s scenic surroundings beyond La Mesa’s boundaries. What began as another developer’s project turned into Zephyr’s successful Southern California neighborhood. With the economic downturn, Zephyr Partners was able to purchase the subdivision from the bank and turn it into the thriving community it is today. “Our goal was to carry out the original developer’s vision while enhancing it with our own ideas,” said Brad Termini, co-CEO, Zephyr Partners, developer of Mesa Del Sol.

Phase one of Mesa Del Sol has been opened and complete since February 2012, with 14 out of 18 homes sold to-date and 80 percent of phase two pre-sold. Zephyr Partners is currently constructing phase two with its expected completion set for December, and the beginning of phase three’s construction set for fall 2012. The anticipated closure of phase three and all 36 single-family homes is spring 2013. “The community response has been incredible. Since opening our models, we have averaged almost 100 visitors per week,” Termini stated, “We have sold houses to a wide range of San Diegans who come from both the immediate neighborhood, as well as others relocating from more urban locales such as Hillcrest, Downtown and Mission Valley.”

Drawing in crowds has been easy for Zephyr as La Mesa’s reputation brings forth a familyfriendly feel with its central location, tree-lined streets, walkable neighborhoods and easy access to retail and commercial areas. However, reaching its success today hasn’t always been so smooth. Zephyr Partners purchased the partially developed and graded project in October of 2010 for under $5 million, in the midst of the economic downturn. With doubtful equity, debt investors and a troublesome housing market in Southern California, noted Termini, pushing the project forward proved to be difficult. “Our initial challenge was obtaining financing to purchase and construct the project. We were fortunate that both Grosvenor Residential and Kurtin Investment Properties had the vision to partner with us on this venture,” he explained. Viewed as a risky investment for an institutional bank for the first phase, Zephyr acquired and developed the land with a creative mix of equity from both private individuals and GRIP — which is a partnership between Grosvenor Residential and Key Bank. According to Termini, Zephyr then relied on a private loan from Kurtin Investments, and once a market for the homes proved viable, the company was able to obtain construction financing from Bank of The West for the project’s subsequent phases.

Just as Mesa Del Sol provides residents with breathtaking exteriors, its interior design also delivers a range of contemporary settings with bright colors to a more rustic, natural feel with industrial accents. With their target markets ranging from young families, professional couples and empty-nesters, Zephyr Partners teamed up with Ami Samuel Interiors to create interiors that are open and light, and were carefully designed for today’s busy lifestyles. “Mesa Del Sol is a great location, you’re so close to downtown and it is still a great area to raise a family. That’s something we always kept in mind while designing the interiors,” said Ami Samuel, owner, Ami Samuel Interiors, interior merchandiser for Mesa Del Sol.

With an already-established relationship derived from previous projects, Samuel presented several designs to Zephyr to begin the eight-month long design process for this community. “I can honestly say that Zephyr is excellent at creating livable communities that speak to the buyer. Mesa Del Sol has the benefit of being ideally located — while at the same time offering a sense of seclusion,” Samuel stated. With plan one and plan three, Samuel brought diversity and assortment for potential residents. Staying in line with the single-family home architectural design, the interiors were kept young and fresh. “As far as overall style, both models were themed certain rooms based on function,” Samuel said. Plan one remains neutral to any household while plan three developed a more mature feel by creating an urban retreat, according to Samuel. She accomplished this by adding transitional pieces mixed with industrial touches, and, “…Together, the two designs span a large demographic of people who want the thrill of city life but the quiet charm of a suburban neighborhood,” Samuel said.

Within the realms of Mesa Del Sol’s charming architectural and interior design are floor plans that range in size from 2,377 to 2,669 square feet, consisting of two- and three-story layouts, three- to five-bedrooms, private yards, porches, balconies, two-car garages. For its prime location and square footage, Mesa Del Sol remains affordably priced from $495,000 to $550,000. Samuel allowed for flexibility when it came to homebuyers personalizing their new homes — making options for cabinetry, countertops and flooring available. The implementation of custom pieces combined with traditional ones called for functional spaces with transitional furnishings. Some of these spaces included state-of-the-art kitchens that are fully-equipped with a multi-functional island or breakfast bar; elegant beech cabinetry with concealed hinges and adjustable upper shelves; granite slab countertops; a large, double compartment stainless steel sink; recessed lighting; a spacious pantry and quality stainless steel appliances. According to Termini, master suites are also equally luxurious, and appointed with spacious walk-in closets; vanities with his and her sinks and a soaking tub with a separate shower. “Overall, I found the biggest benefit of these homes to be the functionality of the space. Much thought was put into how someone lives and not just what a buyer’s basic needs would be,” Samuel stated. She continued, “Besides having these innovative areas, a buyer’s standard requirements are met as well creating a unique and useful space.”

The neighborhood’s outfit of craftsman, traditional and mission architectural accents – as well as high-end amenities and fine interior detailing — showcases the abilities of Mesa Del Sol’s teams to bring a project that was left in the dust into one that should be rivaled. “Mesa Del Sol is an unexpected jewel, with its stunning views and thoughtful design — what was created here is not just houses but actually a community that will withstand the test of time,” Samuel said. Termini added on, “The local neighbors have been thrilled with this highquality, attractive community. We essentially took a half-finished subdivision that sat dormant for years — becoming a community eyesore — and turned it into a community amenity and showcase for La Mesa.”

Lauren Felechner is the features editor of Builder and Developer. She may be contacted at

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