The Hive @ Hillcrest sets soft opening

Posted: October 21st, 2016 | Feature, Featured, Hillcrest | No Comments

By Ken Williams | Editor

An “urban beauty and wellness experience” dubbed The Hive @ Hillcrest is scheduled to have its soft opening on Saturday, Oct. 22.

That’s the word according to Mark Gottschlich, one of the partners of BNF Real Estate Group, which is helming the project. He gave San Diego Uptown News a tour of the remodeled building, which is owned by Morgan Gilman.

The Gilman building formerly housed Harvey Milk’s American Diner and the iconic City Deli before that.

The Hive is located at one of Hillcrest’s busiest intersections, giving the new business high visibility to motorists and pedestrians.

“This is like a freeway,” Gottschlich said of the crossroads. “And with all the pedestrians outside, there is non-stop action at all hours of the day and night.”


Mark Gottschlich is one of the partners of BNF Real Estate Group, which is behind The Hive @ Hillcrest. (Photo by Ken Williams)

The main entrance remains at the southwest corner of Sixth and University avenues, but a secondary entry has been added on Sixth.

The Hive features 26 studios — each one different by shape and size — suitable for hair salons, beauty services like facials and waxing, and wellness businesses such as massage.

“No two floor plans are alike,” Gottschlich said. “Each one is different; some have brick walls, some have windows.”

To date, 10 of the studios have been leased, he said, adding that BNF has had “a lot of interest” from prospective tenants.

Rent ranges from $1,000 to $1,800 monthly, Gottschlich said, and tenants can sign a yearly or a month-to-month lease. Studios that have windows facing either Sixth or University are considered premium spots, and more suitable to hair stylists who need well-lit spaces.

Tenants are independent contractors who want to own a “turn-key business,” he said. They can maintain their own schedules, even after-hours when the building will be locked and secured. Each studio can be locked, too, and tenants control their own lighting and temperature. Utilities and use of the building’s laundry facility are included in the rent.

BNF gutted the building, upgraded the electrical grid and the plumbing, and installed a fire-suppression sprinkler system. Men’s and women’s restrooms were also added. Terrazzo tile floors were polished and restored. Concrete was poured in places where the terrazzo didn’t exist. Ramps were added to comply with the American With Disabilities Act, and Wi-Fi service will be accessible throughout the building.

Recessed lights and stylish white ceiling tiles provide plenty of light, even in interior hallways absent natural lighting. Sound-insulated walls and exterior-quality sliding doors are designed to provide privacy for each studio, equipped with espresso-colored cabinetry. About half the units have shampoo bowls or sinks.

The Hive @ Hillcrest is located at the corner of Sixth and University avenues. (Photo by Ken Williams)

The Hive @ Hillcrest is located at the corner of Sixth and University avenues. (Photo by Ken Williams)

“We kept the existing brick walls,” Gottschlich said, “and we didn’t have to paint or sand it.” They did paint exposed metal pipes, which date to 1928, he added.

The name for the business, The Hive @ Hillcrest, came from a designer with a gift for branding, he said. Thus, The Hive uses a honeycomb icon on exterior signage, the directory by the front door and on signs for individual studios.

“The name, hive, comes from a bee colony,” Gottschlich said. “Think of it as a community of people and a community of interest in similar things.

“We thought The Hive name was urban and contemporary. We will be a community of spa, wellness and beauty owners who come together under one roof,” he added.

The Hive concept, Gottschlich said, may inspire additional locations if there is, pardon the pun, plenty of buzz. He said BNF would like to bring The Hive to Downtown San Diego, Los Angeles, Newport Beach and Santa Monica.

Gottschlich predicted The Hive will generate “a lot of foot traffic” to the heart of Hillcrest’s business community.

“One tenant, for example, could have 100 clients, and they will walk, bike, bus or drive to The Hive,” he said. “They will likely stay in Hillcrest to shop or eat.”

The Hive is still taking applications for those interested in renting a studio. Call 619-988-5876 or visit for more information.

—Ken Williams is editor of Uptown News and can be reached at or at 619-961-1952. Follow him on Twitter at @KenSanDiego, Instagram at @KenSD or Facebook at KenWilliamsSanDiego.

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