|Palo Alto Online Real Estate
Uploaded: Monday, February 1, 2010, 12:00 PM
Updated: Monday, January 14, 2013, 2:50 PM
|In the past 50 years, University Heights in unincorporated San Mateo County has changed dramatically.
Once a sleepy neighborhood of small homes and summer cottages, it is now a lively blend of longtime residents and families with children. Many of the older homes have been replaced with large two-story residences. The business section along the Alameda de las Pulgas caters to young families drawn to the area because of the excellent Las Lomitas School District and the proximity to Stanford University.
The Mix frozen yogurt shop, Lutticken's wine bar, Studio Rincon yoga, dance and exercise facility, and Halo hair salon are among the area's newest businesses. Many are owned by local residents. Even the Dutch Goose, the venerable burger-and-beer hangout, has been given a new look.
University Heights has been shaped by leaders determined to save its small-town charm. In the 1970s environmentalists worked to prevent the Alameda from turning into a four-lane thoroughfare. Thirty years later, civic-minded residents campaigned to make the business section visitor friendly with street trees and paved sidewalks.
Christine Stahler certainly qualifies as a longtime University Heights resident. She's lived on Valparaiso Avenue all her life. So has her mother, Anne Affrunti, who resides next door. Ms. Stahler lives in the house her grandparents built in 1936. Mrs. Affrunti, Ms. Stahler, and her daughters, Amanda and Kathleen, all attended Las Lomitas Elementary School.
Ms. Stahler fondly remembers her childhood in University Heights: walking to the All-American market (corner of the Alameda and Avy Avenue) for candy and shopping at the dime store (Blockbuster Video).
"The area has always been family oriented. It's cozy and down-to-earth," she says. Christine's husband, Al Stahler, puts on an elaborate Halloween display every year, drawing hundreds of visitors.
Gwen Faulkner, a psychologist and nurse, has lived in University Heights for seven years. The Las Lomitas School District, which her daughter attends, was a major factor in choosing the area. "It's one of the best in the state," she says.
She also likes the sense of community. "I know most of the neighbors and they're really nice."
A Starbucks regular, she likes being close to shopping on the Alameda and at Sharon Heights Shopping Center, eliminating the need to drive downtown.
David and Tracy Williams, who moved to Sherman Avenue in July, already knew the neighborhood, having lived on Siskiyou Drive in Sharon Heights as grad students. Both have MBAs from Stanford University.
The Williams family chose the area because of its convenience and, again, the outstanding Las Lomitas school district. After living in the hills in Belmont, says Mr. Williams, "It's also great to be in flat land, where we can walk and ride our bikes everywhere." They like being close to Alameda businesses instead of having to drive to downtown Menlo Park.
The pair recently enjoyed their first Halloween on Sherman Avenue, where the street is closed and almost every house is decorated. "We went through 1,600 pieces of candy that night," says Mr. Williams.
-- Jane Knoerle
CHILD CARE AND PRESCHOOLS: Children's Creative Learning Center, Las Lomitas School, 299 Alameda de las Pulgas, Atherton; Littlest Angels Preschool, Bethany Lutheran Church, 1095 Cloud Ave., Menlo Park; the Phillips Brooks School, 2245 Avy Ave., Menlo Park; University Heights Montessori Children's Center, 2066 Avy Ave., Menlo Park
FIRE STATION: 3322 Alameda de las Pulgas, Menlo Park
LOCATION: East and West of Alameda de las Pulgas to Altlschul Avenue to the west; Vine Street and Santa Cruz Avenue, Atherton border
PRIVATE SCHOOLS: Phillips Brooks School, 2245 Avy Ave., Menlo Park; Trinity School, 2650 Sand Hill Road, Menlo Park
PUBLIC SCHOOLS: ==ILas Lomitas School District --==
Las Lomitas School, 299 Alameda de las Pulgas, Atherton; La Entrada School, 2200 Sharon Road, Menlo Park
Sequoia Union High School District --
Menlo-Atherton High School, 555 Middlefield Road, Atherton
SHOPPING: Alameda de las Pulgas, Sharon Heights Shopping Center
MEDIAN 2012 HOME PRICE: $1,625,000 ($1,985,000-$4,800,000)
HOMES SOLD: 49
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