Look for change in east Hillcrest

Action spreads beyond west end of University Avenue

1727 and 1731-35 University Ave. Now “available for redevelopment.”
  • 1727 and 1731-35 University Ave. Now “available for redevelopment.”
  • Colliers sales brochure

While leasing of retail spaces is part of the usual business activity on University Avenue in Hillcrest, you don’t see many buildings for sale there. Landlords like the monthly income, and you can raise the rent.

Bow Wow Beauty moved to University Heights.

Bow Wow Beauty moved to University Heights.

East Hillcrest doesn’t have the appeal of western University Avenue, which could be labeled “Hillcrest Central.” But changes are coming, encouraged by the bright red, luxury Eitol Towers apartments, at 1643 University Avenue (at Centre Street).

Portfolio moved to North Park.

Portfolio moved to North Park.

A little east of Eitol on the opposite side are two retail buildings that have been for sale. They are located at 1727 University, and 1731-35 University. The first building previously housed Portfolio Hair & Beauty Works, which moved to 2548 University at Hamilton Street in North Park.

Baras Thrift Shop property not for sale.

Baras Thrift Shop property not for sale.

The second building has a beverage shop called Rooted Kava Bar. At the far end was Bow Wow Beauty Shoppe, which moved to University Heights at 4219 Park Boulevard, near the branch public library. At one time there was a restaurant located in the dog-grooming spot. In between those two businesses was a yoga studio, but that space is vacant.

The sale was handled by Richard “Bud” Marsh of Colliers International. Marsh said today [September 30] the sale was completed. The broker’s brochure calls the two buildings a “Rare 15,000 SF Hillcrest Corner.” The site is located between Centre Street and Park Boulevard, has 20 parking spaces in back accessed through the alley, and has total frontage of 115 feet on University Avenue. The “sale” price was $3.7 million.

So what is the importance of the deal? There are two facts about these properties that make a significant difference. One is that the site is “available for redevelopment.” The other is that its Zone: CC-3-8/RM-3-7 “allows one unit per 600 square feet.”

Marsh explained it this way. The property is pre-approved for residential development (condos or apartments) with that zoning. That speeds up the redevelopment process, but a new building would still require the usual planning commission and other meetings, he said.

But Marsh said the buyer does not plan any immediate redevelopment, and instead will lease out the vacancies. Rooted Kava Bar will remain at its location (1731 University). The new owner plans some renovations on the three empty units.


Meanwhile, another well-known Hillcrest building, at 1455 University Avenue at Normal Street, became vacant recently. It was the location for Baras Thrift Shop for many years. Joe Saad of Joe Saad & Associates has the listing, and is only offering the property for lease, not for sale.

“Baras Thrift unfortunately, just closed their doors and moved out without giving the landlord any notice,” Saad emailed. “We are only looking for an appropriate tenant.”

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Oct. 23 update: 1727 and 1731-35 University Ave. are now advertised for lease.

December 18 update: The former Baras Thrift Shop building is reportedly close to a lease agreement.

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