Trailblazing: Las Palmas, San Diego, CA

“A Slice of Urban Solace”


The majority of San Diego’s apartments are small properties (less than 50 units) built before 1980. These older apartments are prevalent in San Diego’s Mid-Cities submarket, adjacent to downtown, and known for its mix of single-family homes, small apartments and quaint retail. This submarket has experienced historically low vacancy and robust rent growth (3% and 13%, respectively, in 2022). The Mid-Cities neighborhoods are rich in character and provide some of San Diego’s most desirable urban living environments.

In February 2020, we purchased Las Palmas, a 1940’s-vintage apartment community in the Mid-Cities neighborhood of Talmadge, six miles east of downtown. Las Palmas was our fifth acquisition in Pathfinder Tradewinds Opportunity Fund I, which acquired ten smaller, value-add apartment properties in San Diego County.

Talmadge is a quiet neighborhood located one mile from San Diego State University with convenient access to the employment and entertainment centers of Mission Valley and downtown. Talmadge is adjacent to the affluent community of Kensington (median home price of $1.6 million) where residents enjoy a public park, a library and several cafés, restaurants and bars. The charming character of these neighborhoods appeals to young professionals and families who appreciate a walkable, urban community without the density associated with downtown.

Las Palmas is a 36-unit, garden-style community with two-bedroom apartments averaging 833 square feet (spacious for the submarket). The property is situated on a large, 1.7-acre lot and features historic, Spanish-style architecture in seven two-story buildings. Large grass areas with mature trees separate the buildings and provide a park-like setting. The property includes 21 garages and 24 surface spaces.

Pathfinder purchased Las Palmas in an estate sale; the previous owner had owned the property for more than 20 years and spent very little on improvements. We have installed new windows, painted the buildings, added a community space with a BBQ and fire pit, installed community gardens and live-monitoring security cameras and made repairs to the roofs and garages. We renovated 35 of 36 apartments installing washers and dryers, refinishing the original hardwood floors and modernizing the bathrooms and kitchens.

Las Palmas – Accessory Dwelling

Last month, we completed construction of three accessory dwelling units (increasing the unit count from 36 to 39) by converting three free-standing laundry buildings into studio casitas with private patios.

At Las Palmas, residents enjoy a slice of urban solace in a low-density community within a charming and highly walkable San Diego neighborhood.

Talmadge (San Diego), CA: Did you know?

Talmadge – 1926 Opening Ceremony

Talmadge was established in 1925 and named after the silent movie stars Norma, Natalie and Constance Talmadge. The development of the neighborhood was largely funded by the president of United Artists, who was married to Norma. The sisters hosted a dedication ceremony in January 1926 and over 10,000 people attended including Buster Keaton, Natalie’s husband and one of Hollywood’s biggest stars. Today the population of Talmadge is approximately 10,000 – near the number of people that attended the original opening ceremony.  Many historic homes still exist in the neighborhood in architectural styles including Spanish Revival, California Bungalow and Craftsman.

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