The Bixby Knolls neighborhood is at the heart of the 90807 ZIP code. Archive photo.

This is the sixth in a series looking at real estate in the city’s different ZIP codes. Read our last edition about the 90806 here.

Long Beach’s 90807 ZIP code is one of the nicest areas in the city, especially if you’re not overly hankering for a waterfront house on the shoreline.

The ZIP’s 5.8 square miles takes in the desirable and ultra-desirable neighborhoods of California Heights, Bixby Knolls and Los Cerritos, all created by the subdivision that occurred largely after the discovery of oil in Signal Hill to the south in 1921 when the land’s owners, members of the Bixby family of Long Beach pioneers, found that there was more money to be made in development than in cattle and sheep ranching.

The homes in the 90807 tend toward the larger size, most built on more spacious lots than you’ll find almost anywhere else in Long Beach.

It’s rarely suffered much during economic and real-estate downturns over the years, save, perhaps, for the 1950s in the mercantile area along Atlantic Avenue when many of the shops and stores fell from favor as more modern complexes like the Lakewood Center and Los Altos Shopping Center siphoned off shoppers from Atlantic, which, along with Long Beach Boulevard, is the Main Street of the Uptown area.

In recent years Bixby Knolls, and Atlantic in particular, has bounced back to life thanks in a large degree to the efforts of the Bixby Knolls Business Improvement Association and the innovations of its executive director Blair Cohn, who remains at the helm after taking the job in 2007.

Today, the stretch of Atlantic between San Antonio Drive and Bixby Road is full of a vibrant mix of shops and restaurants, while its parallel street to the west, Long Beach Boulevard is home to the popular Steelcraft collection of outdoor restaurants.

The ZIP’s residents are a bit more established and older, with a median age of 42.5 compared to the city’s median of 35.3 and the state’s median of 37, with a median household income of $82,552, quite a bit higher than the city’s median of $71,150, but about $10,000 less than the 90803 (Belmont Shore/Naples) median of $92,230.

The 90807 homes are mostly built along wide, quiet avenues lined with stately trees. The architecture is varied but tends toward Spanish Revival, along with many traditional-style houses built in the 1930s and 1940s.

The homes closest to Virginia Country Club and its adjacent Rancho Los Cerritos are the most expensive, with some rising above $3 million and designed by some of the great local architects of the 20th century. The areas of California Heights (especially in the historic district) and Bixby Knolls regularly fetch a million dollars, and the median listing price in November for homes in the 90807 was about $950,000, per, about $150,000 more than the city’s median of almost $800,000.

Let’s start near the top, with one of the most notable homes in Bixby Knolls. The two-story four-bedroom, five-bath house once belonged to Pete Conrad, the astronaut who flew in the Gemini, Apollo and Skylab missions and was the third person to walk on the moon. He lived in the house in the 1980s while he was vice president at Douglas Aircraft and, after the merger, McDonnell-Douglas.

This Kirkland Cutter-designed home in Bixby Knolls once belonged to astronaut Pete Conrad. Redfin photo.

The home at 4497 California Ave. has features that match its pedigree. Designed in 1938 by the famed architect Kirkland Cutter, who designed several homes in Los Cerritos, the Monterey Colonial Spanish-style home is 3,833 square feet in size on a one-third-acre lot. It has a wood-paneled parlor/billiards room with a hidden bar, formal living and dining rooms, three fireplaces (including one in the primary suite) cedar-lined walk-in closets and an abundance of French doors leading to the back yard on the ground floor and to the balcony from the upstairs bedrooms.

The lot is large enough to handily accommodate a large swimming pool/spa with room left over for a nice covered patio and landscaped grounds with mature trees, a fountain and walking path. In all, it’s an exquisite residence and among the finest you’ll find in the 90807. It’s listed by Realtor Tammy Newland-Shishido of Keller Williams at $3 million.

OK, let’s knock a million or two off the price tag and you can still get a great house at the southern end of the ZIP code in California Heights, where $1.099 million gets you this spacious, bright and airy three-bedroom, two-bath home at 3454 Cerritos Ave.

This California Heights home on Cerritos Avenue is listed at $1.099 million. Redfin photo.

Don’t gasp at the prices; I told you this was an expensive part of town, and this home holds its own or surpasses similarly priced homes in the area.

For starters, there’s the curb appeal, with a brick-paved winding walkway carving across the front lawn alongside a brick driveway.

Enter into the living room with wood ceiling beams and built-in shelving and cabinets bracketing the fireplace.

The kitchen is large and features an island, white appliances and a nice tile backsplash along with a breakfast bar, built-in storage and a small desk work area.

A generous use of windows brings in lots of natural light into all the rooms in the house and the backyard is ideal for entertaining or relaxing with a large shaded patio that can also be accessed through French doors in the primary suite.

The home, built in 1936, is listed by Realtor Karen Perez of First Team.

For proponents of the “buy the cheapest house in the best neighborhood” theory of real estate investments, there’s this home in Bixby Knolls at 3935 Lime Ave., just steps from the heart of the services-rich stretch.

A $799,000 home on Lime Avenue near the Atlantic Avenue businesses. Redfin photo.

Priced at “just” $799,000, the three-bedroom, two-bath, 1,500-square foot house comes with the off-putting caveat “TLC needed,” not an encouraging sign when you go in nearly $800,000 to the worse. You wanna talk turnkey? That’s an extra $100,000 to $200,000, depending on how much C is needed, TL or otherwise.

From outward appearance, it doesn’t seem like it requires an awfully lot of work. Maybe soap and water, fresh paint and a nice set of gardening shears, but who knows what’s lurking unseen.

The home, listed by Realtor Theresa La Roche of Keller Williams, has a fine box bay window overlooking the front yard and passersby, and the backyard is almost all water, with a pool gobbling up most of the real estate in the rear of the house. Still, it’s in a lovely neighborhood with plenty of activity a short stroll away in the 90807.

ZIPping through Long Beach: Today, 90806, the ZIP that Wrigley built

Tim Grobaty is a columnist and the Opinions Editor for the Long Beach Post. You can reach him at 562-714-2116, email [email protected], @grobaty on Twitter and Grobaty on Facebook.