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Former Silver Lake Texaco station to be restored but moved out of the neighborhood

Silver Lake   — The good news for neighborhood preservationists is that a former Texaco gas station that was to be demolished will instead be restored. The bad news is that the 1940s-era building will be moved out of the neighborhood and its historic landmark status put on hold.

The developer, who plans to replace the former gas station with a new housing and commercial project, will relocate the building to an undetermined site along the L.A. River. It will eventually be restored and used as a public concession stand, officials said.

“We can have new housing, and we can have historic preservation,” said an attorney for the developer during a presentation before the City Council’s planning committee on Tuesday.

During that same meeting a representative for Councilman Mitch O’Farrell, who nominated the building as a historic cultural monument, said the council office had withdrawn support for the nomination after striking the deal to move the station.

“Though not conventional, we think we were able achieve the historic preservation that was desired,”  a representative for O’Farrell told the committee on Tuesday.

The committee voted against supporting the landmark nomination, which had the backing of the city’s Cultural Heritage Commission.  A city staff report said the small building was  “a rare, surviving example of an automobile commercial development from the 1940s.”

Officials left the door open to consider the nomination after the building had been relocated and restored. But it’s not known when that will happen.

Preservationists were not pleased.

They noted that the building is one of several other Streamline Moderne-style buildings that dot the Silver Lake Boulevard business strip.  Also, auto shop owner Koko Bakchajian,  who spoke at the meeting,  said he he’s interested in restoring the for former Texaco station, which in recent years has been used as an auto repair shop.

“It needs to stay where it is,” said Christine Kantner with the Silver Lake Heritage Trust.

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6 comments

  1. So sanity does prevail every once in a while.

  2. The line between preservationist and a NIMBY is indeed very fine.

    • I straddle the incredibly fine line between preservationist and developer. I’m content with this decision, but I still wish they were able to incorporate the existing building in conjunction with a narrow mixed use on the parking side of the lot.

      A creative architect / developer could’ve have tastefully converted the existing building into a very pleasant ground floor cafe and shop then built up the north side of the property to create a quiet, recessed pocket where diners could relax, stepped back from Silver Lake Blvd

      • Good point. I agree. There’s ways to tastefully incorporate and blend history with a need for new housing. Personally I wish people would stop procreating for a while to give this planet a break, but that’s not going to happen.

  3. Now that the building is saved elsewhere and the site is going to be developed into mixed use, watch the neighborhood NIMBYs pivot their messaging. I’ve seen a bunch of Nextdoor threads about this development and people rapidly forget they’re defending a “historic” gas station and pivot to complaining that multifamily housing development needs to be prevented on the site.

    To me personally, this is win/win. If people like the building, they’ll still be able to go visit it someplace else.

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