Long-Vacant Gas Station at Normandie and Adams to Be Rebuilt as 7-11 and Shell Station

  • 6 April 2016
  • westadams-admin
 Drawing of plan for new 7-11

Leslie Evans

A major eyesore in our community has been an abandoned gas station on the northeast corner of Adams Blvd and Normandie Avenue. Once a functioning gas station, this place has been shuttered since 2007, when it was bought by a group of shadowy investors under the name Cay LLC. They diddled for years attempting to remodel the small auto-repair building into a minimart, and then flip the property. In the interim the place was surrounded by chain-link construction fences backed by tarps covered with graffiti and stuffed with trash. There were 20 Building and Safety cases against this property between 2001 and 2015. In the earlier years, for violations of auto repair codes. Later, while out of business, for repeated use of the property and adjacent sidewalks for unauthorized merchandise sales. And finally, for the graffiti and trash.


The good news is that the property has been sold to a serious developer. The remodeled minimart, constructed out on the frame of the original 1937 service station, proved to be so substandard that it will be demolished. It will be replaced by a full sized 7-11, up against the east wall. The new owners have held three meetings with the Adams-Normandie Historic Preservation Zone Design Review Board, and agreed to build the new 7-11 in an Art Deco style, which was prevalent when the original station was built and will fit in with the still earlier pre-World War I houses that predominate in the surrounding residential streets.


Because there have been many arrests for drunkenness at this intersection, focused on a liquor store in the Dental Building facing the gas station, on the south side of Adams, the new owners have decided to not carry alcoholic beverages. This is a departure from standard 7-11 policy. Retaining the gas station on the property proved to be essential to make up for the income shortfall from losing the wine and beer sales.


At an April 5 meeting of the Adams Normandie Neighborhood Association developer representative Michael Pauls assured neighbors that the rebuilt gasoline portion of the property would incorporate the latest pollution control system to meet the concerns of some community members that a second gas station in this intersection would involve negative health effects. The renewed station will be a Shell franchise. (The second gas station, on the southwest corner, is an independent.)


The combined 7-11 and Shell station is expected to provide 27 jobs, which will prioritize local labor. The previously barren property will have 7 new trees, and parking for 12 cars. It will still be some time before ground breaking. Because the gas station has been closed for many years, and its last conditional use permit is more than 50 years old, dating from 1961, the new owners need to seek approval from the city Planning Department and Building and Safety to secure the required permits.


Some 30 residents from all four of the nearby block clubs attended Michael Pauls' presentation. There was overwhelming approval for the project and people are looking forward to an end to the blight on that corner.