Hillcrest’s new digsBottom Highlights, Latest Issue, Real Estate Thursday, March 16th, 2017
Hillcrest is known and beloved for its Craftsman houses, Mid-Century apartment buildings and tree lined streets. It’s a lively place indeed where residents savor their proximity to restaurants, cafes, boutiques and the trips down memory lane in the now trendy collection of thrift stores.
Hillcrest is also treasured for its many festivals including CityFest, the annual street festival and San Diego Pride, the July event celebrating the LGBT community. The Saturday Pride festival is preceded by the Hillcrest Block Party on Friday and followed by a two day party in Balboa Park. The large rainbow flag, which is now a feature of Hillcrest, was erected just before the 2012 iteration of these annual events.
Hillcrest’s demographics and desirability cry out for new housing initiatives. Part of the Uptown community planning area, the area is home to many same-sex couples. It is reported that approx. 4 percent of the population fits into this latter category, in addition to many single LBGT residents. The median age in the area is 39, which suggests both young and mature individuals, almost 50 percent of whom have college degrees. Estimated median income tops $75,000.
The real estate market in Hillcrest is healthy and growing. Median sale prices expanded from about $400,000 in 2014 to a robust $520,000 reported September 2016. Sales doubled when you compare monthly sales from 2014 to 2016. The rental market is also strong with rents of approx. $2,500 for prime apartments.
Enter San Diego based company SENTRE, recently acquiring an 80 room hotel in Hillcrest with the intention of retrofitting it to an apartment property. The hotel, formerly Sommerset Suites was purchased for $19.5 million, or $245,000 per unit; a hefty price indicating the developer’s confidence in the Hillcrest market.
The revitalized structure will be rebranded as The Whitson after William Wesley Whitson, a well-known Hillcrest developer, and designed by the San Diego architecture firm of Carrier Johnson. The building address is 606 Washington Street, and is near Fifth Avenue and the 163 freeway. The property will be open for occupancy summer 2017.
SENTRE President and CEO Doug Arthur saw Hillcrest as the ideal environment in which to add a high quality structure featuring both the look and amenities residents crave. The Whitson describes its interiors as upscale, yet paying homage to the vintage touches and ambiance that Hillcrest is famous for.
Conversion of a hotel to apartments automatically offers the resort feeling so appreciated by residents. Swimming pool, first-rate fitness center, elegant lobby will all contribute to making The Whitson the newest in place to live in wonderful old Hillcrest.
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