Former Silver Lake Texaco station

The now vacant Silver Lake Boulevard gas station is to be moved to a temporary location before a permanent home is found.

Silver Lake -- It's been more than a year since city officials and a developer reached a deal to save a former Texaco gas station from demolition. The classic piece of roadside architecture was to be moved to a new spot along the L.A. River, where it was to serve as a concession stand and bike repair and rental station. 

The Silver Lake Boulevard building is expected to be finally moved this month. But a permanent home has yet to be found. 

Instead, the 1940s-era building that preservationists fought to save will be relocated to a temporary spot in a city storage yard in Atwater Village until a permanent site is found, according to Tony Arranaga, spokesman for Councilman Mitch O'Farrell. 

The building was designed by Walter Dorwin Teague and built in 1941 by engineer Blaine Noice, according to the application for historic status. It served as a Texaco service station until it was converted into an automotive repair shop in 1988.

The Cultural Heritage Commission said the building reflected the broad history of the area because it was a rare, surviving example of automobile commercial development from the 1940s, and that it "embodies the distinguishing characteristics of an architectural-type specimen" as an example of a Streamline Moderne station from that period.

After O'Farrell's office initiated the nomination, the commission recommended declaring the building a city historic monument. But then O'Farrell later supported a deal with the property owner to move the station instead of having it declared a landmark.

This removed obstacles from the property owner’s plan to build a mixed-use project on the site with a 3-story, 14-unit residential building with ground floor retail space.

The vote and the deal were in November 2018. Since then, silence. The building at 1650 N Silver Lake Blvd. is now vacant. 

As part of the arrangement worked out, the developer will pay for the disassembly and transportation of the building the Central Service Yard operated by the Department of Recreation and Park, said Arranaga with Council District 13.

Meanwhile, RiverLA, the nonprofit organization involved in revitalizing the L.A. River, will fund the renovation of the structure and identify an operator, through a Los Angeles County grant. Similar gas stations have been turned into coffee shops and community center and exhibition space.

"River LA will work to identify locations along the LA River and will engage with the community to determine the final location of the structure," said Arranaga in an email.

Neither the owner of the building - architect Williams Hefner - or officials with RiverLA responded to The Eastsider's request for information about the project. 

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