The fate of a former Texaco service station on Silver Lake Boulevard is headed in a different direction following a city committee vote last week not to seek landmark status for the station.
Instead, the Streamline Moderne-style station will be moved to a new location in a public park along the LA River, where it will be restored and reused as a concession stand, a representative for the station’s owner, William Hefner, told the city’s planning and land use management committee on Tuesday.
Hefner and the nonprofit River LA are partnering on the project. The exact location has not been decided.
The gas station, built in 1941, sits on a site where Hefner had wanted to build a three-story, 14-unit apartment building.
River LA has been advocating for more bathrooms, cafes and other facilities along the Los Angeles River for years, Angela Barranco, incoming CEO of River LA, says in a statement.
“When Council District 13 presented the idea of combining our efforts with the service station, we immediately recognized its potential,” Barranco says.
“Though not conventional, we think we were able to achieve the historic preservation that was desired,” said Craig Bullock, from Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell, who helped facilitate the deal.
Bullock said that though a few prospective sites had already been selected, there would be a community outreach period to determine the gas station’s final location.
In light of the new arrangement, Bullock said the councilmember was no longer supporting landmark status for the gas station. The planning and land use committee took this into account, denying the property’s nomination.
“This designation posed a major problem” for the proposal to build housing on the gas station site, said Daniel F. Freedman, the attorney representing Hefner.
At a time when the city needs housing units, “this was not a good look—preserving a gas station at the expense of housing,” Freedman said.
But there were some Silver Lake residents who want to save the gas station and they question whether, in its deteriorated state, it could survive a move.
“As much as we respect the owner of the property wanting to move it and preserve it in that way, I don’t know how that’s possible, with the condition it’s in now,” Christine Kantner, a member of the Silver Lake Heritage Trust told the committee. “I feel it needs to stay where it is.”