The abandoned gas station on 530 Blake Road should be back in business by July.
That’s what Holiday Stationstores real estate manager David Edquist told council members Tuesday just before they signed off on a site plan for a refurbished 24-hour station.
The business is one of three vacant Oasis service stations that found buyers at the end of 2010. The abandoned properties are generally agreed to be a blight upon the surrounding areas, but neighborhood groups expect the new owners to transform them into community assets. Pizza Luce plans to use the Oasis lot that borders its property at 210 North Blake Road for additional parking, while an unknown buyer obtained the station at 11th Avenue South and Seventh Street South.
Holiday will restore its property for use as a gas station after significant interior and exterior remodeling. The company will add an 875-square-foot addition to the building, remove the car wash, remake the interior, add additional parking and remake the canopy that shields customers from the elements while pumping gas.
Council had only modest concerns about the project. They asked about security cameras around the building and the condition of the subsurface tanks that store the fuel. Edquist said Holiday already plans to work with the Police Department on the proper number and placement of security cameras. It will also inspect and, if necessary, replace the tanks, which are about 14 years old, and install tank-monitoring systems.
Traffic is the biggest issue left to resolve. Councilwoman Kristi Halverson asked if the city could prohibit cars from turning left out of the station’s easternmost entrance on Cambridge Street. The entrance is just two car lengths from Blake Road, and vehicles often blocked traffic when the Oasis station was open. City Manager Rick Getschow said city staff can examine the issue.
Edquist said work on the station will start as soon as Holiday has all of its permits. The company wants to open in June and doesn’t expect to open any later than July 1.
Councilman Bruce Rowan liked what he saw in the artist’s rendering: “Looks like a great improvement in that area.”