The Columbia Square Neighborhood in Irvine Revisited

Robin Fenchel December 3, 2012

Confusion Regarding Columbia Square Neighborhood Street Addresses  Columbia Square Community

Back in the early 1980’s, people unfamiliar with the way in which the Columbia Square community was developed, were often confused by the street names and numbers. This persisted for a number of years as only the house numbers were located on each condo/town home, adding to the confusion and difficulty of visitors ability to find the proper address for which they were searching. The running joke was that you could order a Domino’s Pizza, and be sure of getting a pizza free, because it would take the delivery person longer than 30 minutes to locate the home!

Columbia Square condos are privately owned (as opposed to Columbia Court, an I.A.C. or Irvine Apt. Community whose addresses are exclusively on Exeter  and which is located in the vicinity of the Columbia Square condo complex)—the streets of which include Exeter, Oxford, and Columbia.

Built by Donald Bren between 1981 and 1983, Columbia Square is a community of 78 condos situated along side and around Columbia Square Park  and was built in three phases. The first phase was built off of California and Exeter. Some of these condos side to and/or overlook California Street, while others are located on a small greenbelt around which is the Columbia Square Park with one of four pools/spas located within the greater U.T.C. village. There are also sport courts which include basketball and sand volleyball courts  in addition to a tot lot, picnic areas and BBQ’s.

The confusion arises on several fronts. First the street Exeter is divided between condos/town homes located within the neighborhood of Columbia Square and number odd between 1 through 87 Exeter and number even from 2 through 48 Exeter.

Columbia Court, on the other hand, which is owned by the I.A.C. (Irvine Apt. Community) number odd 89 Exeter through 201 Exeter.

Oxford Street poses confusion as well to the uninitiated. The odd numbered streets on Oxford belong to the Columbia Square neighborhood, while the even numbered streets on Oxford belong to the Cambridge Court community (an entirely different builder and homeowner’s association.)

Similarly, the odd numbered streets on Columbia belong to the Cambridge Court association, while the even numbered streets on Columbia are a part of the Columbia Square community.

As it turns out when the land was parceled, the tract number into which both developments were placed (Tract#10484) did not distinguish between the two builders and appraisers often mistakenly used the wrong properties as comps which added to the confusion during the housing meltdown! (Columbia Square has one and two bedrooms with 2-space  covered Carports as opposed to Cambridge Court which has up to 3-bedrooms with 2-car attached garages).

This was finally corrected in the early 1990’s when street names as well as the numbers were finally placed on each condo, putting an end to residents’ “free lunch.”

Nevertheless, confusion still occurs among appraisers who are unfamiliar with the layout of the neighborhood.  All the more reason to use a Realtor® who is experienced in your local marketplace and who can provide the knowledge that is required to ensure Buyers are not overpaying, and Sellers are getting their property properly appraised.

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