Mesa Housing: An Oldie but a Goodie

By: Tiffany Zhou

It is a common misconception that the Mesa grad housing and the Mesa Nueva grad housing are the same, since not only are the two communities located next to each other, but also people will often shorten “Mesa Nueva” to just “Mesa” when talking about it. But make no mistake; the two are actually very different!
First and foremost, the Mesa apartments are old AF compared to Mesa Nueva – about 48 years older to be precise. Mesa was built in 1969, while Mesa Nueva was built in 2017. The difference is immediately apparent when you see the architecture of the buildings. Mesa Nueva towers above the landscape with the sleek aesthetics of the modern age, while Mesa humbly nestles itself between decades-old eucalyptus trees with its earthy colors and wood siding.
Now, just because Mesa isn’t as modern-looking as the other grad housing options doesn’t mean it should be pushed to the bottom of your list. The interiors of all the Mesa units have been renovated at some point in the last decade, so you won’t be getting 48-year-old carpets and appliances. The only bad thing I’ve noticed about the age of these apartments is how there are lots of cracks and crevices through which bugs can enter your home. I’ve been finding a lot of spiders in my apartment lately, and they seem to get in through small gaps around the old window screens and doors. I could avoid this problem by keeping my windows closed all the time, but unfortunately these buildings don’t have air conditioning (none of the grad housing do), so I need to open them often to cool the house down. Fortunately, I’ve found that spraying the doorways and windows with insect repellent every couple of weeks is adequate at keeping them away.
Despite the occasional spider invading my home, I’ve still grown to love my Mesa apartment in the six months that I’ve lived here so far. The spacious balcony that comes with every apartment is one of my favorite features of Mesa. During these times of social distancing, it’s been an especially pleasant perk. When the weather is nice, I like to be able to sit and work outside on my balcony instead of staying cooped up in my room. It’s also given me lots of space to expand my gardening skills!
Walking around the Mesa community feels like walking through a park. There are tons of trees, bushes, and flowering plants surrounding the buildings, and large grass lawns perfect for lounging on. The abundant foliage attracts a variety of birds: I’ve noticed a couple of finches, bluebirds, and hummingbirds briefly stop by my balcony. There’s also a large, vacant field between Mesa and Nuevo East where I think they’ll be building a new park, so there will be even more green space soon.
The ambiance around Mesa can be described as “family-friendly”. Students with families have priority at the Mesa apartments; hence, you’ll see (and hear) more young kids around here than in other housing communities. But this also means you’ll be less likely to have a neighbor who blasts music until 2 AM, or a group of talkative friends having a late-night get-together outside your window. In fact, the nights here seem to be much quieter than at the more socially-oriented Mesa Nueva community (even back when we weren’t social distancing).
Other Mesa amenities include:
- Large laundry rooms with app-connected washers/dryers (so you can see whether machines are available from an app on your smartphone, instead of having to physically go there to check)
- A community garden for growing vegetables and other plants
- Playgrounds and BBQ grills (free to use on a first-come, first-serve basis)
- Community rooms that you can reserve for study groups or meetings (currently still closed due to social distancing)
- Gyms with fairly decent equipment (also currently still closed)
- Two campus shuttle stops
- Plenty of parking (free for residents) throughout the community

In addition, since Mesa is located within walking distance from the newer Mesa Nueva and Nuevo East/West communities, you can always go use their gyms and outdoor spaces as well. :)

Finally, the price of rent at Mesa is hard to beat. At $625-725 per month for a bedroom in a 2BR apartment, it is about $100-300 cheaper than Mesa Nueva and Nuevo East/West. Internet and cable TV are included in the monthly rent too, which is an awesome deal. (The only utility that isn’t included in rent is electricity.)

Just note that if you want to live at Mesa, you’ll probably be on the waitlist for a while – unless you’re married or you have children, since Mesa is prioritized for students with families as I mentioned earlier. I had to wait almost 2 years for an opening, but it’s been worth it! Hopefully this review was somewhat informative and helpful! (and I swear I’m not being paid to say these things, haha)

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