Monthly Archives: August 2014

Robata JINYA Continues Restoration of Historic Hospital Building in Hillcrest

When Kelly’s Treasures closed earlier this year in Hillcrest, we couldn’t help but be a little bummed. The former antique store was always a neat place to browse and you never knew what you’d find. We knew we’d miss it, but wondered what would become of the historic space. At 801 University Avenue, the building has a long history dating back more than a century.

Robata Jinya San Diego

You see, in 1891, the Sisters of Mercy opened St. Joseph’s Hospital on the north side of University Avenue between Seventh and Eighth. The San Diego Historical Society has a great photo of the four-story hospital, which stood where FedEx and Chipotle are now. The surgery annex we’re talking about today was a separate building located on the east side of the block.

Some years later, they actually picked up the building and moved it across the street to its current location on the southeast corner of Eighth and University. St. Joseph’s Hospital would eventually become the modern day Scripps Mercy Hospital on Washington. (Feel free to correct us if we mixed any of that up—the Googled history is a little fuzzy for us.)

Robata Jinya San Diego

Last month, San Diego Reader reported that the historic landmark would be saved after appearing on the Save Our Heritage Organization’s Most Endangered List.

All these years later, the building is currently undergoing a major restoration and will open early next year as a Japanese izakaya-style restaurant called Robata JINYA. Scaffolding recently came down to reveal the new grey and maroon color scheme.

Robata Jinya San Diego

It may look like the inside has barely been touched, but crews have been restoring the building all summer. They’ve nearly finished framing out the new space and have been busy replacing support beams that have held the building together for a century.

Robata Jinya San Diego

The original Robata JINYA opened in 2006 in Japan, and in 2008, they opened their Los Angeles location. That West Hollywood location gets pretty solid reviews, so we expect the Hillcrest version to do well. Check out the online menu for a peek at what’s to come.

Robata Jinya San Diego

The adjacent building, also part of the property and formerly an extension of the main Kelly’s Treasures space, seems to remain untouched at this point.

In May, San Diego Eater reported that the Japanese restaurant group would be bringing its JINYA Ramen Bar concept to the property, suggesting that it would be going into this small space at 815 University Avenue. Months later, we know they’re definitely bringing Robata JINYA to the main building next door, but we’re unclear on plans for the smaller building. We’ve also heard that it may be demolished altogether.

Robata Jinya San Diego

It’s great to see this part of University Avenue getting a hip, new restaurant. Now, if we could only get AT&T to clean up its monstrosity in the middle of the neighborhood.

Robata Jinya San Diego

Watch as the historic building continues to be adapted for its new use. By next spring, it should be fully preserved and back in action.

Factory Lofts Rising Above Sixth Avenue

All summer, we’ve been watching a set of row homes rise above a previously vacant lot along Sixth Avenue in Hillcrest. Located just south of Pennsylvania Avenue, Factory Lofts will feature five row homes for sale. The infill project comes from PQ Design Studio, Inc., who has designed several similar projects in the San Diego area.

Factory Lofts

The building will be entirely residential—so, no new retail here—but is notable as one of a few new condo developments in this part of Hillcrest and Bankers Hill.

Factory Lofts

We’re big fans of those green strips of living walls stretching the entire height of the building. Each unit will feature a two-car garage on the ground floor and a large patio opening from the main living room level. Thanks to PQ Design Studio, Inc. for the rendering.

Factory Lofts

This space has been empty for as long as we’ve known it, so we’re happy to see something new.

Factory Lofts

The top-floor master suites will feature high ceilings, huge windows, and private terraces.

Factory Lofts

This is the same developer behind the Idaho Heights Row Homes near the water tower in North Park, as well as a similar 8-unit row home project on Goldfinch Street in Mission Hills.

Factory Lofts

The developer didn’t have a timeline to share with us, but said the homes are going up fast. Along with 5th and Thorn, Vue on 5th, and an upcoming condo building on the site of the former Mandarin House restaurant, residential development is really picking up in this part of Uptown.

Work Begins on Bird Rock Coffee Roasters in Little Italy

As construction finishes up at the new Legacy Apartments in Little Italy, work is just starting to begin on the second San Diego location for Bird Rock Coffee Roasters on the ground floor of the building.

Bird Rock Coffee Roasters

Last we heard, the acclaimed La Jolla-based coffee bar was scheduled to open by mid-September, but we think Little Italy residents will have to wait a bit longer than that before the new shop is ready.

Bird Rock Coffee Roasters

We’ve been watching this space collect dust for a few months and are happy to report that work has finally begun inside the future coffee bar.

Legacy Apartments

Crews recently completed the landscaping and removed the construction fences surrounding the mixed-use Legacy Apartments building. The project includes 31 residential units and a few spaces for retail.

Legacy Apartments

We’ve heard that nearby Bottlecraft will be moving into one of these spaces along the India Street side of the building, which should be a nice upgrade for one of our favorite beer spots.

Legacy Apartments

Legacy Apartments is just one of several new developments on the north end of Little Italy. As the boom of food and drink development continues in this direction, we should also soon learn more about the mixed-use, six-story Kettner Lofts project planned one block south along Kettner Blvd.

Lofts Planned for Vacant North Park Site

The stretch of University Avenue between Florida and Texas has long been a dead zone compared to the thriving neighborhood centers of Hillcrest and North Park. That could soon change, as San Diego architect Jeff Svitak is planning a residential loft project for a vacant site at Louisiana and University.

Jeff Svitak Project in North Park

In June, San Diego Reader reported the sale of the lot to Svitak under the purchasing name Morley, LLC. Although details are still unknown, we came across a rendering on Svitak’s Instagram that just might represent an early design. “Morley starting to come to life,” he writes. The multi-level complex includes several small courtyards and open spaces between units.

Jeff Svitak Project in North Park

The vacant lot is located just east of Albertsons, across from Colima’s Mexican Food. There’s a single-family home to the east and an apartment building to the south.

Jeff Svitak's Columbia in Little Italy

That early rendering for the vacant North Park lot shares some similarities with Jeff Svitak’s Columbia Lofts, which is expected to be completed in Little Italy next month. Located on Columbia Street between Fir and Grape, the 18-unit complex is inspired by the narrow streets of Venice.

Jeff Svitak's Columbia in Little Italy

Svitak’s design for Columbia incorporates several shared courtyards and green corridors that serve as buffers between units. The concept minimizes the number of shared walls, using those shared spaces and private patios to increase the amount of light and ventilation.

Based on the preliminary design for his North Park project, expect this same design style to be repeated. Check out Svitak’s Facebook page for more on the nearly-completed Columbia Lofts, as well as the project website for detailed floorplans.

Keeping Downtown Neighborhoods Beautiful

You may have noticed that your Downtown neighborhood is looking a little greener these days, as the Downtown San Diego Partnership continues its beautification efforts on the streets. We watched as crews installed large planters and new flower baskets around Cortez Hill last week.

Cortez Hill Beautification

The pots aren’t exactly our style, but we welcome any kind of new greenery.

Cortez Hill Beautification

See those new pots on each corner? They were added in sets of three around Cortez Hill.

Cortez Hill Beautification

Hanging from the recently-upgraded LED streetlamps are these new hanging baskets, which you’ve probably seen in other neighborhoods.

Cortez Hill Beautification

These seem to have a better watering system than the older ones. The Clean & Safe crew can quickly connect to a hose down low, which runs up the post and sprinkles water over each basket.

Cortez Hill Beautification

Last week, Downtown San Diego Partnership shared a gallery of photos on Facebook to show what goes into assembling the baskets.

Cortez Hill Beautification

Additional beautification efforts are planned in other Downtown neighborhoods. Downtown Partnership says they’ll be hanging pots in some places and placing planters in others. The tree lighting program we previously highlighted is set to continue along the major corridors as well.

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