El Cajon Blvd. revamp ramps up

Business relocations and apartment projects

Future site of BLVD apartment building
  • Future site of BLVD apartment building

A couple of years ago the rundown section of El Cajon Boulevard in University Heights began a slow journey to rejuvenation. Construction crews have recently picked up the pace.

Rendering of BLVD project

Rendering of BLVD project

The largest residential project in the immediate area is BLVD, a mixed-use development at 2030 El Cajon Boulevard (at Florida Street). It was designed by FoundationForForm, also the architecture firm for Eitol, now under construction on University Avenue in Hillcrest.

Developer H.G. Fenton Co. came under fire last year from activists in the LGBT community and Save Our Heritage Organisation when the old Bernie Michels-Thom Carey house on the corner was demolished. The building included a space where activists in the early 1970s did initial planning for what was to eventually become The Center in Hillcrest.

BLVD will have 165 apartment units: 80 one-bedroom and 85 two-bedroom units, and about 4000 square feet of street-facing restaurant and retail space. A 30-unit building will be located in the back of the property. Fourteen units will be designated affordable. Completion is planned for spring 2018.

Exotic Gardens, a cactus-and-succulent business, was previously located at 2212 El Cajon Boulevard, across from the Lafayette Hotel. Now that location has a new apartment development owned by Exotic Gardens LP, to be built by Murfey Construction. Ben Longwell, vice president for leasing, acquisitions, and development at Boardwalk Development, Inc., is the project spokesperson. He said he couldn’t discuss details at this time.

Future home of Awash Market & Ethiopian Restaurant

Future home of Awash Market & Ethiopian Restaurant

Another apartment project is under construction at 2129 El Cajon Boulevard, between Monarch U-Haul and Pizzeria Luigi. Owned by the Evelyn El Cajon LLC, it will consist of four one-bedroom units and eight three-bedroom units, with 21 parking spaces. According to the City of San Diego’s Development Services Department, “the twelve units proposed on the 0.24-acre site create a density of 48 dwelling units per acre.” Murfey Construction is also the contractor.

Meanwhile, Awash Market & Ethiopian Restaurant is still slated to take over a former storefront-church at 2104 El Cajon Boulevard. The grocery/eatery is currently at 2884 El Cajon Boulevard in North Park. The ownership plans to be in the new location by early 2017.

The newest business in the area is a Dunn-Edwards Paints outlet at the former Blockbuster Video location (2011 El Cajon Boulevard). After Blockbuster closed, the building had been graffiti-tagged constantly and was often a homeless hangout.

Share / Tools

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google+
  • AddThis
  • Email

More from around the web

More from SDReader


It's about time this area this depressing area became developed with housing. It's in a perfect location for public transportation, stores and entertainment. Hallelujah El Cajon Blvd. your time has arrived!

The Lafayette Hotel renovation got the ball rolling a few years ago. I'm sure more apartment buildings are coming to The Boulevard.

Almost all of El Cajon Blvd. is blighted and in need of revamping.

This has happened across the country, where a major highway and its business core goes downhill after a new freeway comes in to replace it. In our case, it was I-8. But some vision and many $millions can turn it around. It's not so different from cities turning old, rundown areas of downtown into gold, e.g., the Gaslamp District (or the booming Brady District in Tulsa).

Future development ideas (not yet implemented) envision high-rise residential buildings at Texas and El Cajon (at one or both of those gas station sites). Density is definitely coming to The Boulevard, and the only thing that can save it from extinction.

I took this photo a while back in the car repair zone, and Photoshopped it.

December 29 update: Here's what 2212 El Cajon Boulevard looks like now.


by dwbat

March 17, 2017 update: And here's today's view of 2212 El Cajon Blvd.


by dwbat

June 24, 2017 update: BLVD is in the midst of pouring cement now.


by dwbat

June 24, 2017 update: The project next to Pizzeria Luigi has made a lot of progress.


by dwbat

Exotic Gardens has moved to El Cajon, near Lake Jennings Park Road and I-8. They have a much bigger lot now, but I'm sure they miss their old central location in North Park. Loyal customers can find their favorite succulents and air plants at 14269 Olde Highway 80, El Cajon, California 92021. New phone number 619 443-5300

I don't think a lot of its former customers want to drive to El Cajon.

Oct. 14, 2018 update: Not sure what's happening at 2104 El Cajon Blvd., where Awash Market & Ethiopian Restaurant is supposed to open. The windows are still covered over. The Exotic Gardens apartment building is now renting units. The BLVD apartments have a long way to go still, for completion.

Log in to comment

Skip Ad