Iconic Hillcrest building being revamped

Posted at 6:32 PM, Feb 02, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-02 22:34:48-05

Plans are finally underway to give an iconic Hillcrest building a facelift.

Since Harvey Milk's American Diner suddenly closed in 2014, the building at Sixth Ave. and University Ave. has been vacant. The closure left the journey into Hillcrest off state Route 163 without much life.

"It's just been a very dead corner," said Ann Garwood, who lived in Hillcrest for 30 years.

For decades, fruits and vegetables of all colors towered above City Deli at Sixth and University. They acted as the gateway to Hillcrest.

In 2013, City Deli's owners retired, and Harvey Milk's American Diner took over. They painted the building a battleship gray color, but the eatery abruptly shut down the next year.

"When the business closed, it just left this decaying corner," Garwood said.

Enter George Flint, who now has the keys to the gutted, 1928 building.

"The stories that these walls could tell," Flint said, as he walked through the empty interior.

The open space is making for a fresh start. Traces of a restaurant remain, like a sign for the bakery equipment in the back, but the building's days of food service are long gone.

The building is getting a $400,000 facelift, not for one business, but 30.

Flint is developing The Hive, which will sublease to all sorts of beauty services, like hair salons, nails, tanning and aestheticians. Flint was selected over about five restaurants for the lease. He expects The Hive to open in May.

But that's not all he's got planned. As a college student, Flint started a painting company that redid the facade above City Deli about 10 years ago. Now as the man in charge, he'll do it again.

"I think everyone who lives in Hillcrest can take pride in this corner coming back to life," Garwood said.