New Hillcrest Restaurant Sparks Debate - NBC 7 San Diego

New Hillcrest Restaurant Sparks Debate

Some locals upset about historic building renovation



    New Hillcrest Restaurant Sparks Debate
    The Feast
    The Range, which officially opens Friday, has some controversy surrounding its quick construction.

    Controversy is surrounding a new restaurant in Hillcrest, reports our sister site The Feast.

    The Range, scheduled to officially open Friday, had a relatively smooth process obtaining permits – opening only two months after acquiring the lease. Its owner, David Schiffman, manages two popular bars downtown: Whiskey Girl and Double Deuce.

    “There are no issues with the permits.” Schiffman told The Feast. “Everything was done by the books.”

    San Diego Development Services informs small business owners that permit issues can vary, depending on the plans. But the city is notorious for taking a long time – sometimes up to a year – to grant restaurant permits.

    But there’s more debate surrounding The Range as some Hillcrest residents are upset about its renovation. The restaurant is within an older “Googie-style” building that was starting to show its age, but some people wanted more preservation efforts to be included in the redesign.

    Jaye MacAskill, president of Save Our Heritage Organisation, said Schiffman “obliterated the historical integrity of the building.” The owner added retractable garage doors, changed framing patterns and covered original stonework of the building.

    But another Hillcrest resident disagrees and was pleased the building was not torn down entirely.

    “The businesses that were previously in that space hadn’t been good stewards of the property to begin with,” Benjamin Nicholls, Executive Director of the Hillcrest Business Association said. “When I look at what The Range has done, they’ve taken advantage of the space in a positive way.”

    Nicholls said there might be a small group of people in Hillcrest who would prefer a well-preserved, empty storefront in place of the refurbished restaurant. But he doesn’t think that would benefit the neighborhood.
    “The best way to preserve it is to have a healthy, functioning business in there in there,” he said. “I think it looks 10 times better than it did before.”