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Auto shop owner offers to buy and restore former Silver Lake Texaco station [updated]

Silver Lake   –  There’s a new wrinkle in the fray to turn a former Texaco service station into a historical monument.

Koko Bakchajian, who runs Hi-Tech Automotive on Fountain Avenue, has contacted city officials, expressing interest in buying and restoring the Streamline Moderne-style former service station at 1650 North Silver Lake Boulevard.

In a letter to Councilman Mitch O’Farrell and other city officials, Bakchajian explains how he has restored three buildings “to their original splendor” and would do the same with the former Texaco station. Bakchajian also mentioned plans for a cafe.

“I treat my properties with the same attention to detail as I do with my vintage auto restorations,” said Bakchajian. “I have the experience, know-how and passion to do the same for 1650 Silver Lake Blvd.”

It’s not known if Bakchajian has contacted the owner about buying the property.

The City Council’s Planning & Land Use Committee is in the process of deciding on deciding the historical status of the property. The Cultural Heritage Commission voted to declare the building  a city historic landmark. A city staff report said the small building was  “a rare, surviving example of an automobile commercial development from the 1940s.”

However, the current owners of the gas station, now a car repair shop, want to tear it down and build a housing and commercial development. Other have sided with the developer, saying the need for more housing outweighs the building’s historic significance.

The Planning and Land Use Committee, which has delayed making a decision, is scheduled to take up the matter again at their meeting today, Nov. 6.  The full City Council will then make a final decision.

Update: The committee voted against the historic nomination after the owners agreed to move the gas station to a site along the L.A. River, reports the L.A. Times.

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3 comments

  1. I wouldn’t call this building particularly “rare,” there are buildings like this one all over LA still. And tons of other examples of different types of gas stations, too. I think this fight is mostly about keeping multi-family housing out of this particular neighborhood.

  2. It would be super cool to have this restored to the original.

  3. I hope they keep the barbed wire, it matches the barbed wire around the reservoir!

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