Derelict Gas Station Around Town, posted by Midtown Resident, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Aug 15, 2007 at 11:19 am
It has been mentioned here before, but the derelict gas station on Middlefield is an eyesore, a reminder of what we had that was very useful, a possible hangout for illegal activity and probably an environmental hazard. I know the politics of getting it back as a gas station is particularly Palo Alto. But, in the days of election campaigning, I would dearly like to know what can be done and what the alternatives are. Do the different candidates for city council have any views? Are there any plans in the pipeline? Am I the only resident who would like to see something, anything happen?
Posted by Dauntel, a resident of the The Greenhouse neighborhood, on Aug 15, 2007 at 1:44 pm
A good guess is that the gas station, like Alma Plaza, and so many other locations in town is a victim of the Palo Alto process. I haven't heard, and don't know, anything specific about the boarded up gas station. But if I were the owner of that parcel, I'd probably dread trying to do anything with it in this city.
And I doubt if any council candidate will do much either. First, people like Myrtels probably want to turn it into a park or open space or somethign silly. And if you were a candidate with somethign reasonable in mind for the piece of land, you'd probably keep your mouth shut for fear of inciting the local NIMBY's.
Posted by Bystander, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Aug 15, 2007 at 8:31 pm
It is true. We have Alma Plaza and Edgewood Plaza, both with a plan of action and a group of interested residents. As far as I am aware there is neither for this site and it is about time that action was implemented.
Posted by Paul Losch, a resident of the Community Center neighborhood, on Aug 16, 2007 at 7:11 am
When I wear my Parks and Recreation Commissioner hat, I would like to see it become a gymansium, providing more capacity for indoor sports such as basketball and volleyball, among others, which are growing in popularity as much as outdoor field sports are, and for which available capacity in our community is in short supply.
It adjoins tennis courts and the skating rink, so parking and traffic issues already are largely understood. As a commercial or residential parcel, it does not appear to have much utility, and I suspect the reason it no longer operates as a gas station is that is didn't succeed financially.
I almost hesitate to bring this idea up in a public forum like this, as it is just my idea, not anything that I have pursued in depth with my colleagues on the Commission or with City staff. If this idea has some merit, it likely would require some sort of public/private investment approach, given some of the other capital requirements Palo Alto faces.
But, I would be interested in what people think of the idea. Playing areas is a priority issue for our Commission, and we are carefully evaluating projected demand and supply that the community will face so we can recommend how to plan for land and building utilization going forward. Personally, I think the gym shortage is a no brainer, finding land and building opportunities around town to address it smartly is going to be the challenge.
Posted by Grumpy, a resident of the South of Midtown neighborhood, on Aug 16, 2007 at 12:46 pm
Let us take this lemon and make some lemonade. We can redefine this eyesore as a piece of environmetal art: "Derilict, decaying gas station." Then we can over the next forty years watch it decay and turn to dust. Maybe someone can drop by and take a picture every ten years or so to document the decay. By 2050 the Palo Alto Process will have finally made a decision about what to do with the property.
We can also apply the environmental art tag to our decaying strip malls as well...Alma Plaza and Embarcadero. Better yet, maybe we can get the artist known as Christo to wrap them. It worked with the Reichstag. We could turn them into tourist attractions.
Posted by Midtown Resident, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Aug 16, 2007 at 12:49 pm
I like your idea and reasoning. I do have a question relating to this. Would a better site for a gym be near the Bayshore Athletic Center where Babe Ruth Baseball is played. It seems to me that this site is very under-utilised and there could be space to build more facilities. I think a gym in this area would be great, much better than Middlefield Road. I believe I heard somewhere that there was money set aside and plans for improving the parking and facilities there. Making this place a true athletic center would really help Palo Alto's sports players.
Posted by Gary, a resident of the Duveneck/St. Francis neighborhood, on Aug 16, 2007 at 1:06 pm
I like your idea, although I would prefer a re-opened gas station (I used to use that station quite a bit). A gym at that spot makes a lot of sense. It is near a preexisting sports complex. It might generate a little business nearby. I fills a real need. However, I would caution that the environmental cleanup could be a real nightmare. The former gas station site across from Stanford, next to the old European Health Spa, has been undergoing expensive cleanup for many years. This is lagely self-imposed by the environmental lobby, but it is what it is. You (we) could be waiting for MANY years, Paul. Something to consider.
I presume that this is private property. If the owner is not interested in selling, probably nothing will happen. Yes, the owner can be charged to keep the weeds down, but not much else.
Posted by PA_reader, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Aug 16, 2007 at 5:37 pm
Is this the gas station near Winter Lodge? I always thought that the Starbucks up the road should move to that location. There would be better parking and all of the skaters could stop by for hot cocoa too.
Posted by Eyesore, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Aug 17, 2007 at 6:05 am
Anamika, the gas station closed down because it couldn't make a profit - daaaa!!!
Seriously, soil contamination is a big issue. The cost of cleanup could be huge, so it will probably stay like it is for a long, long, time. Any developer would have to weight the cost of soil contamination cleanup against any future profits he may make on the land.
Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Aug 17, 2007 at 10:29 am
I remember a BP gas station on the site of the Mayfield soccer fields. I do remember talk about cleaning up the site, don't remember the outcome, but we do have children playing soccer on the site now.
Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Aug 28, 2007 at 8:55 am
Nice try, Joe, but many of us don't like the abandoned gas station, but this is a different scenario. Running a gas station as a going concern is a full time operation. Fixing up a so called historic house is a part time, hobby for someone with either too much time or too much money to know what to do with.