Hillcrest car-repair shop closure signals gentrification

Park Boulevard business “has indeed been an eyesore”

Town's Auto Repair at 3752 Park Boulevard in Hillcrest has repaired its last engine, carburetor, and transmission. The business was directly across from the DECA luxury condo development, on the northwest corner of Park Boulevard and Robinson Avenue.

Luke Terpstra, chairman of Hillcrest Town Council, said, “For years [the shop] has indeed been an eyesore with no regard for cleaning up a little…. The whole section of Park is in a process of gentrification with the new restaurant Heat, and the crosswalk. So, if the new owners put in something, I hope it fits in better with the neighborhood.”

After years of car repairs on the property, it's likely that soil underneath the cracked pavement is toxic. Sonya Stauffer, executive director of Hillcrest Business Association, said that “those kind of shops usually require some major cleanup.”

Changes are slowly coming to the section of Park Boulevard that is called the Egyptian Quarter. The historic Fox Egyptian Theatre once stood where the Egyptian condos are now located; the residential structure retained the exterior of the original theater building. The Flame, a now-empty bar nearby, is listed for sale.

Future development of the site requires review and approval by the Uptown Planners Board, a city-recognized community planning advisory board for Uptown neighborhoods such as Hillcrest.

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Since posting this, I've learned the new building will be designed and developed by Jonathan Segal FAIA & Development Co. (www.jonathansegalarchitect.com/). "We have just started our due diligence on the property, and have not gotten deep into the design phase yet," said Matthew Segal (his son).

It's about time. There's nothing wrong with having a car repair shop in the neighborhood IF they keep the place in good order. That did not seem to be the case with this business.

This was an "old school" type of business, which didn't even think about environmental pollution. There's another old car repair place in Hillcrest, on the western end of University Ave. It's probably also on borrowed time.

Jonathan Segal is the same architect/developer that is building the multi-use project at 30th St. & Upas St. in North Park.

And most of Little Italy! Excellent design but I haven't been floored by the quality.

And just in case one thinks there are too many overpriced condos in Hillcrest, this development will be apartments.

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