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NEIGHBORLY ADVICE

Redlands has retained the charm of days past

The community, tucked against rolling hills at the eastern end of the San Bernardino Valley, retains its turn-of-the-previous-century charm with beautifully restored vintage homes in safe neighborhoods, strict growth-control measures and swaths of orange groves that provide a perfumed reminder of its early history.

April 27, 2003|Susan Sullivan | Special to The Times

Drawing card

This former citrus capital, incorporated in 1888, has blocks and blocks of stately Victorians, Spanish bungalows and Craftsman-style homes with views of the San Bernardino Mountains. Its pedestrian-friendly downtown business district is the site of a year-round Thursday night farmers market. The Redlands Bowl offers free outdoor summer concert series, with nearly two dozen programs each year. And the Redlands Bicycle Classic draws world-class cyclists to its six-day event each spring.

Good news, bad news

The city's growth-control regulations, which limit the construction of new housing units to 400 per year, have preserved Redlands' character, but some residents blame slow growth for a dearth of shopping and dining options, a situation that is improving with new commercial projects.

Hot spots

Historic homes are concentrated south of Redlands Boulevard, and while homes built from the 1890s to 1930 are in highest demand, there is also a large stock of well-kept mid-century homes. Prices in this area of Redlands average $200 per square foot, slightly less if the homes haven't been restored and somewhat more if they have been. A three-bedroom, two-bathroom, 1,300-square-foot turnkey vintage home was just listed for $289,000.

Pasadena east

"Most communities change dramatically over the years; Redlands has pretty much preserved what they have," said Jim Ballard of Ballard Real Estate. "It's one of the few cities left outside of Pasadena that have historic homes in areas you want to raise your family."

This city of 63,600 residents is home of the A.K. Smiley Public Library, a Moorish landmark on the National Register of Historic Places. The adjacent Lincoln Memorial Shrine holds a major collection of Civil War and Lincoln artifacts and documents.

Insider's view

The University of Redlands and Environmental Systems Research Institute, a leading developer of geographic information system software, is among the city's major employers. While some residents work in nearby cities, others commute to Orange and Los Angeles counties. Traffic has become a problem on Interstate 10, which bisects the city, as has smog.

Report card

Redlands Unified School District's 2002 Academic Performance Index scores range from 599 to 790, with all but two of the elementary schools and all of the secondary schools scoring in the 700s.

Stock report

Redlands has 17,392 single-family residences, 7,327 multiple-family dwellings and 895 mobile homes.

On the market

The housing inventory is low, with 133 homes on the market in mid-April, ranging from $95,000 to $1.37 million, according to Karen Riddick of Century 21 Lois Lauer Realty.

Historical values

Single-family detached resales (excludes new homes):

Year...Median Price

1990...$141,500

1995...$127,000

2000...$152,000

2001...$166,500

2002...$189,000

2003*...$207,000

*year to date

Sources: DataQuick Information Services, www.redlandsbowl.org, www.Redlandsclassic.com, www.akspl.org, www.ci.redlands.ca.us, Century 21 Lois Lauer Realty, Ballard Real Estate, Redlands Community Development Department.

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