Revivals, the nonprofit thrift store at 1644 University Avenue in Hillcrest, will close down on February 28. It will not be relocating. Opened February 7, 2011, by Desert AIDS Project (D.A.P.) in Palm Springs, Revivals is currently selling off store merchandise at a discount.
San Diego County records show the property owner as Normal Hillcrest, LLC. That LLC is owned by architect Michael Burnett, of FoundationForForm Architecture & Development, a well-known San Diego firm. His projects include the You Got Mail mixed-use project at the former North Park post office.
Barry Dayton, communications director at the Desert AIDS Project, said February 10 that Revivals lost its lease. This was part of a news release sent out by Dayton later in the day, quoting Mike Scarff, Desert AIDS Project’s director of retail who manages operations for Revivals stores: “We’ve loved working with the great group of employees and volunteers at the Hillcrest store but sadly, we’ve lost our lease on the property.”
But, according to Burnett, “Revivals decided not to extend their lease. We offered to reduce their rent in half to help them out so they could stay,” he said, “but they chose to move out. Their board decided to close up shop.”
Scarff commented on why Desert AIDS Project pulled the plug: “After examining a number of different options that would have made it feasible for us to continue operating in the San Diego market, we have begun the process of selling inventory in the final phases of closing the store on February 28.”
Burnett stressed that “we are very supportive of them and their organization.” As for development at the site, he said “we have no plans yet.”
District 3 councilmember Todd Gloria issued a statement, saying he looks forward “to what will occupy this valuable space next.” Gloria said “Revivals has been a positive addition to Hillcrest, especially as a fundraising arm of Desert AIDS Project.”
Benjamin Nicholls, executive director of the Hillcrest Business Improvement Association, said, “I do believe that this property can be better utilized. It's my hope that this property will be developed into a mixed-use residential/commercial space.”
Leo Wilson, chair of the Uptown Planners Board, said he has not heard about any new project at the location. But he said he was “sad to learn that Revivals is moving.”
Three Revivals stores remain in Palm Springs, Cathedral City, and Palm Desert. While much of the items were donated, the Hillcrest store also sold new furniture, lighting, and accessories as well as consignment items such as art and antiques.
The Desert AIDS Project press release addressed local funding: “Contributing more than $30,000 in $10 merchandise cards over four years, Revivals helped provide clothing, basic necessities for living, and more to needy clients of local ASOs (AIDS service organizations). Over that same time, the Hillcrest Revivals contributed nearly $50,000 to sponsor local fundraisers like 'Nightmare on Normal Street' for The Center and the annual wine event for Mama’s Kitchen.”
As of February 14, the store's donated merchandise will be discounted 30 percent. Then every few days the discounts will increase, ending at 70 percent off. The store is continuing to accept donations this month that can be sold.