The Hillcrest hood, with its high commercial rents and constant turnover, is hoping to fill some of its properties along the main drag of University Avenue. Realtors there often attempt to lease similar businesses, such as getting a new restaurant into a closed restaurant space.
But SBMI Group has outlined a different approach after its purchase of the historic Argyle Building at 1253 University Avenue for $2.75 million. The building had an early history of housing women’s clubs. Most recently the lessees included Body Alchemist and Herbal Lust.
The ongoing renovation by Level 3 Construction, Inc., reportedly costing $1.25 million, is creating The Wall. It will offer creative office and retail space on its two floors, comprising 10,680 square feet. Office spaces on the second floor will share a mezzanine; all tenants will have access to a communal lounge and an outdoor deck. Living green walls will be both in the lobby and on the building’s exterior.
Brandon Blum, managing partner at SBMI, told the Reader: “The Wall is bringing cool new innovative companies to the area, and is searching for a hot new retail concept. With the success of Trust, many restaurants are now starting to follow suit in the area with new hip concepts.” But Blum explained that “it doesn’t have to be a restaurant. We have been approached with many great ideas.”
As for its upstairs offices, Blum provided a brochure showing typical rates: a 520-square-foot executive suite for $1,690, and a 975-square-foot “creative office” for $2,681 plus utilities.
Other commercial retail properties await future tenants. At 1295 University Avenue is the former venue of the well-rated Filter Coffee House. Nate Benedetto, principal at Next Wave Commercial Real Estate, Inc., previously brokered restaurants including Herb & Wood, Juniper & Ivy, The Crack Shack, and North Park’s Encontro. Benedetto is also the founder/publisher of URBANIST.
The old Filter locale has 12,925 square feet, with minimum divisible of 1820 square feet. There’s a 227-square-foot sidewalk patio, previously approved. An ADA-compliant restroom is already onsite.
At 1228 University Avenue is the former spot of Fido & Co., which relocated to North Park. [Behind that building, with an entrance on Cleveland Avenue, is shared-office space called Co-mmunity Creative Space.]
The 1228 location is being offered by Marc Karren, associate at commercial brokerage Location Matters Inc.. It contains 6414 square feet of divisible space plus a patio. So it’s possible they are scouting restaurateurs who might toss the dice.
The University Avenue Center building at 1243 University Avenue was formerly Wine Steals. [Another Wine Steals remains in Cardiff.] The broker is Athena Harman at Harman Realtors, Inc.
That property has 3750 square feet of space, divisible to 1631 square feet. There’s 50 feet of frontage on University Avenue, and 500 square feet of sidewalk-dining area. Parking is off the alley.
[Benedetto, Karren and Athena Harman were all asked to comment for this article, but haven’t responded.]