This episode is about Cosa Mesa, which I journeyed to with photographer Jeanine Michelle and filmmaker Diana Ward. To vote for other Orange County communities to be covered on the blog, vote here. To vote for Los Angeles County communities to be the subject of future entries, vote here. To vote for Los Angeles neighborhoods, vote here.
Pendersleigh & Sons' Official Map of Orange County Pendersleigh & Sons' Official Map of Costa Mesa
Costa Mesa is a city in North Orange County, California, located on the coastal tableland above Newport Bay. It’s neighbored by Santa Ana to the north, Irvine to the northeast, Newport Beach to the south, Huntington Beach to the west, and Fountain Valley to the northwest. Originally an agricultural community, nowadays Costa Mesa’s economy is primarily based on retail, commerce and light manufacturing. There are a good deal of cultural events and centers for an Orange County town and Costa Mesa proclaims itself to be Orange County’s “Center of the Arts.” Nonetheless, it’s still Orange County and the biggest money maker is a mall; the largest employer is Mickey D's.
Costa Mesa skyline
Though long thought of as a purely suburban County, there are pockets of urbanization that have arisen since the 1970s, especially in North Orange County. Costa Mesa is probably the most urbanized city in Orange County. The two tallest skyscrapers in Orange County are located in Costa Mesa. The oldest, and third tallest building in the city is the 17-story Park Tower, completed in 1979. The tallest skyscraper in the city and county is the 21-story Center Tower, completed in 1985. It's part of South Coast Plaza. The second tallest building in the county and city is Plaza Tower, built in 1992 and also part of South Coast Plaza. Other skyscrapers include the two 15-story Comamerica Bank Tower and DiTech.com Tower (both part of Two Town Center), the17-story Westin South Coast Plaza, the 12-story Metro Center I and Metro Center II (both completed in 1988), and the South Coast Metro Building (completed in 1989).
The southwestern portion of the city is somewhat industrial in character. The area hemmed in by the 405, 55 and 73 is known as SOBECA – South on Bristol, Entertainment, Culture and Arts. The shopping area includes "anti-malls" The Lab and The Camp. Other areas include the
Theater & Arts District, the Metro Center, the City Center and the neighborhoods of Cliff Haven and Santa Ana Heights.