The “makeover” of the former Uptown District” shopping center (a.k.a. Ralph’s shopping center) at 10th & University is apparently working hard at earning an “Onion” award. Mismatched wall murals, some of them outright hideous, a tragic attempt at modern sculpture using bright yellow i-beams sticking out of the cement outside Starbucks, a barely discernible “HUB” logo in white-on-white, all contribute to the feeling of this having been “designed” by an eighth-grader for a science project.
Key to uploaded image:
1. White on White signage disappears into the wall
2. Quasi-religious imagery on a bank??? And I didn’t notice the wrap-around HUB logo on the upper corner until after I got home.
3. Yellow I-beam “trees” and benches to sit out in the glaring sun.
4. One of the most hideous murals EVER.
The HUB shopping center and adjacent condo complex was considered an outstanding example of redevelopment when it was first built. It might even have won some awards.
About two years ago, the shopping center was repainted with new colors, given new signage and patio furniture/landscaping,, and the result is ugly and in the poorest of taste. The colors are wrong. There are stripes and patterns on some of the buildings that are tacky and scream “cheap.” Awnings are in the most hideous and clashing of colors.
But the piece de resistance of hideousness is the redo of the patio outside Starbucks.
A low wall with a hedge previously encircled what was then a delightful patio, shaded by three or four jacaranda trees. The hedge is gone, and the trees were replaced by a wooden “sculpture” that looks like scaffolding for torture and executions. There is no rhyme or reason to this sculpture, other than to brutalize the senses.
The only redeeming thing about this “redo” is that it did not extend to the condo complex across the streets, which still has its original attractive color scheme.
All in all, this “new and improved” HUB shopping center is an embarrassing blight on Hillcrest.