Named after the historic El Cortez Hotel, this district is one of San Diego's oldest and most distinguished residential neighborhoods. North of downtown's Core and south of I-5 between Tenth Avenue and Union Street, the 111- acre Cortez Hill is two neighborhoods in one. East of Sixth Avenue rises downtown's highest land mass, the hill dominated by the El Cortez Apartments (formerly El Cortez Hotel). West of Sixth Avenue the flatter area is known as Cortez West. The hill has drawn residents for over a century, and the original Victorian style dwellings of the first settlers have now become part of its charm.
In 1992, the Redevelopment Agency envisioned reviving this district by further developing the hill for residential use, and encouraging a mix of residential and commercial infill. Schools, churches and a pedestrian-friendly environment now characterize the western portion of Cortez Hill. Commercial shops and sidewalk cafes line Fifth and Sixth Avenues, and Ash Street provides a gateway to the waterfront. As the highest land mass in the Centre City Community Planning area, Cortez Hill boasts views of urban San Diego, Balboa Park, the bay and Pacific Ocean. The intimate neighborhood feeling, diverse housing, proximity to the downtown core and Balboa Park, and waterfront and mountain views make Cortez Hill a desirable location.
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