Construction underway on major renovation in Hillcrest
By Hutton Marshall | Uptown Editor
On Monday, May 19, owners of the Uptown District Shopping Center began a $3 million revitalization project on the commercial zone, which houses Ralph’s, Trader Joe’s and the Joyce Beers Community Center among several other businesses.
The project will spruce up the shopping plaza’s exterior with sculptures and murals and create more outdoor space. It will also give the center a new name: the Hillcrest Uptown Block, or “HUB.”
Located at 1060 University Ave., the shopping center was purchased in December of 2012 with the intent to renovate by Regency Centers, a Florida-based company that owns hundreds of community shopping centers nationwide. Southwest Strategies LLC, the public relations firm representing Regency Centers, said community outreach has begun to inform the Hillcrest area of the changes underway. Because of the largely cosmetic nature of the renovations, community review was not required for the project.
Regency Centers will present its plans at the July meeting of the Hillcrest Town Council (HTC), which happens to hold its meetings at the Joyce Beers Community Center. Regency Center representatives have already met privately with members of the HTC, the Hillcrest Business Association and the office of Council President Todd Gloria, according to Chris Wahl, president of Southwest Strategies.
Two businesses — Little Italy’s Napizza and organic beverage company Ritual JuiceBox — are expected to fill two of the four current vacancies during the renovation, which is projected to last until this fall.
The 148,638-square-foot Uptown District Shopping Center first opened in 1989. It remains the largest commercial space in Uptown.
Wahl said renovations of Joyce Beers Community Center have also been discussed, although no such plan has been finalized.
The revitalization project was originally designed by architect Graham Downes, who passed away late last year. Page Winkler became the project’s lead architect in Downes’ stead after his passing.