COSTA MESA - WHERE FREEWAYS MEET : FOCUS : Costa Mesa’s Freeway Triangle: Accessibility With a Capital A

Clipboard researched by Kathie Bozanich, Susan Davis Greene and Dallas Jamison / Los Angeles Times; Graphics by Doris Shields / Los Angeles Times

For those people who rank freeway access high on their list of life’s most important ingredients, a triangular area of Costa Mesa bordered by the San Diego, Corona del Mar and Costa Mesa freeways could well be Shangri-La.

Located just south of the shopping bustle of South Coast Plaza, this triangular piece of real estate is home to a variety of establishments catering to the hectic life styles of young professionals who live or work in the area. A myriad of businesses including fast-food restaurants, drive-through cleaners and convenience stores cram the busier streets of Bristol and Baker. Flat-topped buildings housing light industrial or service companies face each other across quiet side streets.

For business travelers in search of lodging close to clients, shopping and, of course, the freeway on-ramp, the area is about as centrally located as it is possible to get. A number of hotels, including the 486-room Red Lion Inn and the 227-room Holiday Inn, rim the area near its northernmost edge.

Hemmed in by three freeways, the potential for commercial sprawl in this wedge of land is naturally restricted, but this has not impeded the construction of one of the biggest projects in the area.


South Coast Corporate Center, a 362,000-square-foot, tri-tower complex will be completed in late April. Asking rents for the brick-skinned structures are between $1.85 and $2.05 per square foot--at least 8% higher than commercial rents in other sectors of the city. And, according to one commercial real estate market executive, the difference is largely due to (what else?) freeway accessibility.

So it was that in the late afternoon of a recent weekday, the on-ramps of the San Diego, Costa Mesa and Corona del Mar freeways filled again with masses of harried motorists, while all around, the dull and ever-present roar of traffic filled the air.


Total: (1988 est.): 4,449


1980-88 change: +15%

Median Age: 31.7

Racial/ethnic mix:

White (non-Latino), 83%; Latino, 8%; Black, 1%; Other, 8%

By sex and age:


Median age: 32.5 years



Median age: 30.9 years


Per capita: $24,878

Median household: $48,552

Average household: $53,066

Income Distribution:

Less than $25,000: 19%

$25,000-49,999: 33%


$50,000-74,999: 26%

More than $75,000: 22%