Nestled between URBN Coal Fired Pizza and the empty old F.W. Woolworth building in North Park sits a building that last housed the Windmill Thrift Shop. After it closed, the structure, owned by a Los Angeles landlord, sat empty for years.
Directly across the street at 3104 University Avenue is a business called United Records & Sound. The owner, DJ/producer/engineer David Gleason, said he had his eye on the musty old property for a couple of years. He closed escrow in May (price: “a little less than a million”), and the 1938 property at 3077/3081 University Avenue is already undergoing renovations. The 4725-square-foot building is divided into two sections: 3125 and 1575 square feet.
Interviewed June 24 at his music business, Gleason said, “North Park has a lot of advantages over other areas. I have no question that it's a good long-term investment.” He pointed out that “about half of” the area buildings have been renovated since he opened his shop in 2006. Gleason is taking advantage of the City of San Diego's storefront improvement program, which pays for one-third of façade upgrades (maximum $5000).
Angela Landsberg, executive director of North Park Main Street, the area business improvement district, is “thrilled” over Gleason's acquisition. “There is a rapidly increasing demand for spaces in North Park,” Landsberg added. “I receive two, three calls a week from people looking to open businesses in North Park.”
Gleason thinks a restaurant would be ideal for the larger section. Or it could work as “a clothing store, a coffee house, maybe offices,” he said. He said he has no interest in renting to a franchise restaurant or store. “If they are going to contribute to the community, there are a lot of [other] different things that could work in the space.”
The structure's dropped ceilings are all removed, revealing 14-foot-tall open-beam ceilings. Brick walls have been sandblasted, and two rows of skylights are being installed. Old asbestos floor tile was professionally removed. A new electrical panel is next, along with new lighting, plumbing, and other improvements.