The former Kelly's Treasures antiques and collectibles store at 801 University Avenue in Hillcrest is closed, and a sign says it's under renovation by AK Pro Construction Co. of Torrance. It will become a Japanese restaurant, similar in traditional Japanese design to the construction company's previous work.
The designated local historical landmark, built in 1919, was once a surgery annex of St. Joseph's Hospital, which was located across University Avenue. St. Joseph's later evolved into what is now Scripps Mercy Hospital.
Prior to Kelly's Treasure, the building housed the House of Heirlooms, opened in the 1940s by Victor and Ruth Schulman.
Akito Wakamatsu, with AK Pro, emailed that he's still working on the design. He said their completion date goal is March 2015.
Bruce Coons, executive director of Save Our Heritage Organisation said: “The second story still retains its original operating rooms with their large windows, skylights, and magnesite (cement) floors. It is on SOHO's 2014 Most Endangered List, so it will be great for us to remove it from that list, and that it will be adaptively reused.”
Coons added: “Only the upstairs and exterior have significant historic materials. To put the building into a productive new use is the best way to ensure its preservation.”
The building was purchased sometime back by Masayuki Ueda's 819 University Acquisition Co. That company owns the nearby Studio 819 Residential Hotel and the adjacent empty small structure at 815 University Avenue.