Thrift Trader preps to move out, corner of University Avenue and Centre Street
  • Thrift Trader preps to move out, corner of University Avenue and Centre Street
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Thrift Trader

1644 University Avenue, Hillcrest

(No longer in business.)

The building in Hillcrest that previously housed Legends Furniture store, then a Revivals thrift shop, and currently a Thrift Trader, will be razed. No demolition date has been set.

Property owner FoundationForForm, a San Diego architecture and development firm, will design and build an apartment project on the site, located at 1644 University Avenue.

Interior of Thrift Trader

Thrift Trader closed for a month after a mezzanine collapse in June. The building is in poor condition, said FoundationForForm partner Mike Burnett. The billboard on top of the building will be removed “very soon.” Thrift Trader has been renting on a month-to-month basis, he said.

“Although we don’t have a final schedule or exact final design, we continue to work on ideas and will be sharing more info as soon as we have it,” Burnett added.

Luke Terpstra, chairman of Hillcrest Town Council, said that city permits have been pulled for a four-level mixed-use commercial and multifamily structure.

“We will welcome a project like this one, and continue to hope and work for a better Hillcrest,” Terpstra said.

An employee at the Thrift Trader said the store had shown interest in the empty former Wang's Restaurant in North Park, but the asking rent was too high. Thrift Trader's former store site at 3939 Iowa (just off University Avenue) has a senior housing project under construction. Another store is at 2947 El Cajon Boulevard; two more are in Ocean Beach and Pacific Beach.

Thrift Trader is copying Revivals' shutdown playbook, increasing the percentage off each week, starting at 20 percent. By December, all items will be a dollar each, or less in bulk. The store's last day in business is December 28.

FoundationForForm is now building residences on 30th Street in North Park, at the former site of Crazee Burger (which moved down the street). They previously completed the You Got Mail mixed-use project at the former North Park post office.

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swell Oct. 27, 2015 @ 10:26 p.m.

I'm familiar with FoundationForForm and several of their projects. They are brilliant and I expect this will be a great asset to Hillcrest.


dwbat Oct. 29, 2015 @ 5:28 p.m.

Uptown Planners (, Hillcrest community groups, and residents are picky about new projects in the Hillcrest hood, and that's probably a good thing.


dwbat Oct. 28, 2015 @ 12:46 p.m.

Mike Burnett emailed a correction to Luke Terpstra's comment, saying: "Permits have NOT been pulled."


SanCarlosGuy2001 Oct. 29, 2015 @ 7:18 p.m.

Thrift Trader never seemed quite right for the neighborhood. Hopefully, the retail tenants will offer stylish, affordable products scaled to the demographics of the neighborhood. Furniture stores with large scale credenzas, giant headboards and overstuffed furniture are more appropriate for the burbs. Same goes for the clothing, overpriced Speedos and clothes only a 22 year old with questionable taste would buy are automatic fails.


dwbat Oct. 29, 2015 @ 7:29 p.m.

Yes, Thrift Trader has done OK by staying in the funky hoods, like NP, PB and OB. Hillcrest probably wasn't the right place, but the space was available when they needed one. I think any kind of retail is tricky in Hillcrest; it's not for the faint of heart.


dwbat Oct. 30, 2015 @ 2:48 p.m.

Oct. 30, 2015 UPDATE: The large billboard (shown in the photo, above the store) has been removed.


dwbat Dec. 30, 2015 @ 7:28 p.m.

December 30 UPDATE: Thrift Trader has now closed the Hillcrest store.


dwbat Feb. 20, 2016 @ 2:19 p.m.

February 20 update: The building is now gone!



dwbat March 27, 2016 @ 1:14 p.m.

March 27 update: Construction of apartments is underway.



dwbat May 8, 2017 @ 4:36 p.m.

May 8, 2017 update: The exterior of the building is nearing completion.



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