Thursday, May 22, 2014

RUMOR: Gas station going, boutique hotel coming on Second Avenue?



IF the rumors are accurate, then the BP station and MRM Auto Repair at 24 Second Ave. at East First Street will close this summer to eventually make way for something the area doesn't seem to need — a boutique hotel.



Again, this is only a rumor… traced to workers at the station. There's nothing on file yet with the DOB for this address.

Of course, news of BP's closing wouldn't be so shocking, after all.

On Tuesday, WYNC featured a story titled "Say Goodbye to Manhattan's Gas Stations."

Per the article:

In 2004, the borough had more than 60 places to fill up, but now there are just 39. Fuel prices and consolidation are driving the nationwide trend, but in Manhattan, it's all about real estate.

"It's kind of like the gas station has a red flag on it that says: 'Call me. I'm the next site,'" said Adelaide Polsinelli, a broker with the real estate investment firm Eastern Consolidated.

Thanks to skyrocketing real estate prices, Manhattan gas stations are worth much more than the money the owner can make selling gas. Last year, a Getty near the High Line sold for $23.5 million. A few months later, another station in the borough went for $25 million.

And IF this is true, this means the East Village will no longer have any gas stations in another year or so. In March, Hakimian Property filed plans to erect a 9-story mixed-use building on the site of the Mobil station on East Houston and Avenue C. (The station was expected to be open until next year.) Meanwhile, the BP station on East Houston and Lafayette will be home to this one day.

Said Eastern Consolidated's Polsinelli to WNYC: "You see everything that was once industrial — auto body shops, garages, gas stations — and now they're all holes in the ground with cranes in them."

Previously on EV Grieve:
How much longer will the East Village have gas stations?

The East Village will soon be down to 1 gas station

The Mobil on Avenue C is still going strong — for now

You have a little longer to get gas on Avenue C

Plans filed for new 9-story building at site of Mobil station on East Houston and Avenue C

35 comments:

Anonymous said...

We all now the Bowery from Houston to Canal has been a nonstop orgy for developers and "hoteliers" but I foolishly believed anywhere north of Houston was safe from this Vegas-acation of LES, sadly I might be wrong.

IWONTMOURNAGASSTATION said...

Do we really need a gas station either though?

If this was an existing hotel that was being replaced by a gas station, everyone would be saying that gas stations are evil. But instead they're being championed as some sort of endangered species we need to protect?!?!

Ken from Ken's Kitchen said...

Workers at the station are probably a pretty reliable source.

What are there, about 30 gas stations left in Manhattan?

Brian Van said...

The answer to "Do we really need a gas station" is:

No matter what you think of cars, YES we need a minimum coverage of fueling stations for automobiles.

Having few of them is a signal that we really want to de-prioritize random commuter traffic in the neighborhood. Having NONE of them increases the chance of very costly, traffic-snarling breakdowns. I'm not just talking about the fuel itself, but the availability of mechanics who can effectively fix small issues before they become big ones.

Creating intense scarcity means that prices for fuel and repairs in this area will skyrocket. This will lead to more balking behavior - unfixed mechanical issues (too expensive!) and gas tanks run down to the last drop - and more issues on the roads.

Then you'll see drivers complaining that they need to take out the pedestrian safety islands because it's taking up necessary lane space on the roads that could be used to drive around the broken-down cars on the avenues left there by people who refused to drive out of the area to get more gas in time.

Anonymous said...

Do we really need a gas station ?!

Yes we do just like we need all the other services that make a city function. Laundrymats, delis, hardware stores and all the otber unglamorous but neccesary business that are disapearing begore our eyes.

Pretty soon there will be no gas stations left in manhattan. Where are all the cabs going to gas up ? They are going to need to go to the outer borough costing them not only gas but time and an hour lost is money.

So yes we need gas stations

Ken from Ken's Kitchen said...

Likewise, the answer to "Do we really need another boutique hotel" is no. But this is NY in 2014 and RE rules the land.

bowboy said...

I'm not fan of gas stations, but in addition to "traffic-snarling breakdowns", if there are no gas stations in Manhattan, won't cabs then have to make extra trips off the island and back on again just to fuel up? Wouldn't this create increased congestion, pollution, and street wear-n-tear that we pay for?

As much as I'd like to have fewer cabs on the street, this will reach a tipping point where it'll actaully create more cabs, rolling further, and accomplishing less. Not very economical in multiple ways.

Anonymous said...

For all the gas station haters - cabs still use gas as do the trucks that deliver goods that most of us by. Until they all go electric and there are electric outlets everywhere, we do need gas stations. Certainly more then we need hotels!

Anonymous said...

There are a lot of taxis in this town and could you imagine them all having to go to the outer boroughs to refuel? Gas stations are never more than one story high, the buildings occupy very little space on a lot, hotels take away air space, add traffic cars and pedestrians, add noise especially with a trendy bar in the lobby or worst on the rooftop. Hotels block sunlight to nearby residential buildings. Sold on gas stations over hotels yet?

IWONTMOURNAGASSTATION said...

Brian Van I don't disagree with you. My only point was to illustrate the ridiculous perspective that "all change is bad, I lived here first so I'm better than you, and nobody should profit from the neighborhood in any way because I can't".

Dan said...

I live one block up and this is the place for cabs and delivery trucks to fill up in the neighborhood. The only time it was truly a snarl or dangerous was after Sandy, when mile long gas lines appeared.

I still remember the gas station on Bowery and 3rd before THAT hotel went up.

I don;t even own a car and I think we still need gas stations.

Anonymous said...

I had my car fixed here a few weeks ago and the mechanic told me they would be moving across the 59th Street Bridge and they were building on the lot. He didn't say what type of use.

Gojira said...

@IWONTMOURNAGASSTATION, you don't get it, do you? It's not the gas station in and of itself that occasions the comments (altho I think a city without gas stations will be a nightmare, and I don't own a car), it is just the further erosion and vanishing of what was here for decades, something that did - and does - serve a purpose and is of value to many people, which will be replace by something that will be valueless to the majority of neighborhood residents, cab and truck drivers, New Yorkers. The courting of a transient (but rich) population is starting to reach absurd levels - why do people who live here 24/7 need to give up so many amenities that they need and use in their daily lives, for the benefit of visitors who probably live in places where all the things that are disappearing from NYC (like, yes, gas stations) are in plentiful supply? Why must we lose our city to them so their short stay can be "fabulous"? What about the things *we* thought were fabulous, that have been bulldozed, built on, tarted up beyond recognition? This disappearing gas station is a symbol of a much deeper issue, but you may be one of those people for whom the city has been reinvented, hence your not caring if it goes away.

chris flash said...

The loss of gas stations that are a necessary evil in a city that needs and uses vehicles requiring fuel and mechanics can be averted by ZONING restrictions.

The city has ALWAYS had the power of zoning to encourage/discourage allow/prevent certain businesses and developments in certain areas.

With a zoning allowing ONLY for a gas station on a particular parcel, that parcel is reduced in value and hence receives a lower tax assessment and real estate tax bill, thereby enabling the gas station to operate and serve the community in which it is located.

By not exercising its power of zoning restrictions, for whatever reason, whether due to political pay-offs and/or a master plan to change demographics, the city is aiding and abetting the loss of gas stations throughout Manhattan.

Walter said...

Thanks, Gojira. You just saved me a lot of typing. I fully agree with your sentiments.

Anonymous said...

Gojira you must be a carpenter because you just nailed it on the head. This town is less and less for its tax paying citizens and more and more for tourists and their needs and comfort. The attacks of 9/11 really fucked NYC up but not the way most people think. Prior to that event most of the country kept us at arms length and saw us as somewhat dangerous, dirty and a rude town. Post 9/11 America made us its pitied sweetheart and the gates were open to the flood of tourists visiting 911-land. The super rich had a buddy in the mayors seat and everything seemed rosy. I use to find tourists amusing as they look at their maps on a street corner now I want to tell them to leave us alone and get the out of here.

Anonymous said...

The opposite corner has high rat traffic between 1st street and the park on Houston. Maybe a hotel will create some incentive to address this.

JAZ said...

A gas station does something else very important beyond the obvious: it prevents still more light from being blocked and stolen from us, which is an invaluable trait in Manhattan.

Of all structures that take up the square footage a gas station does, very few are even close to being as friendly in this regard.

Richard Velasco said...

I recall this may have been the gas station used in the video for Billy Joel's 'Uptown Girl' https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hCuMWrfXG4E

3:27 pm said...

I'm holding out for a gas station that will be dispensing gas in a hoof.

moe said...

One indication that the area is underserviced by gas stations is that not only is there always a wait for gas here, albeit sometimes only a short wait, but even the next closest station over at C and Houston is also always busy, despite the absolutely outlandish, even by Manhattan standards, price they charge for gas.

IWONTMOURNAGASSTATION said...

@Gojira, Walter, etc

Apparently I don't get it at all. Do you guys also have a problem with Soho being full of shops, restaurants, and offices now, or would you prefer that it stayed the dilapidated drug and crime infested version from decades ago? Yes, it's full of tourists and I avoid it most days, but I have to believe it's better than "the good ole' days" right?

You're right, I don't personally care if we lose a gas station. I wouldn't mind of the Manhattan Storage next door gave way to more housing either, because I'm allowed to prefer having more housing options for people than a creepy looking "dead building". Supply and demand says that if we have more housing available to meet the increasing demand, then prices wouldn't be quite as sky-high, so that would be a good thing for all of us right? Or would you lobby to save and protect the sacred Manhattan Storage as well?

Imagine if they very affordable Bowery Whitehouse Hotel/Hostel was giving way for a new gas station in it's place. Would you all be celebrating because we don't need hotels for "visitors" but we do need a gas station because it "serves a purpose and is of value to many people in the neighborhood"?

As I said before, I just don't agree with the entitled mindset that "all change is bad, I lived here first so I'm better than you, and nobody should profit from the neighborhood in any way because I can't". Some change is good, some changes are actually improvements for the neighborhood and its residents.

And if you want to get personal about it, go ahead. I wasn't born in the EV (were you?) but I've lived here for 15 years now and am the proud owner of a modest apartment here for the last 5 years. I'm not "rich" by any stretch of the imagination, but I work extremely hard (in the arts) in order to make it here because it's New York and I love it and if that's what it takes to stay here, then so be it. But go ahead and tell me that I'm not as much of a New Yorker as the rest of you, and that I don't belong in "your" neighborhood...

EV Grieve said...

Slightly off topic but the Bowery Whitehouse Hotel/Hostel will be giving way to a more luxurious hotel.

Anonymous said...

Okay nobody I think is saying the "good ole days" of crime and drugs were better than today's invasion of fro-yo shops etc... But history tells us when its "ok" to build a luxury tower or tourist attraction hotel in a neighborhood like the EV the floodgates are open and nothing will remain in a very short time that is remotely historical, cool, alternative, of peaceful. We all have been accused of being newcomers by someone now and then, I know as a 33 year resident I've had "native" 20 somethings tell me this because I am Caucasian I suppose. The point is a lot of people chose the EV as home because it is not the UES or the UWS both of which are bland, corporate and congested with people at all times. Greed is the motivator with the new hotels and transients do not make for a good neighbor regardless if that transient is rich or poor. Investment in a neighborhood like the EV does not just mean $ but something called giving a shit to what is happening next door to where your live.

Walter said...

"and am the proud owner of a modest apartment here for the last 5 years."

Congratulations, you won. Enjoy it for all it's worth.

"...or would you prefer that it stayed the dilapidated drug and crime infested version from decades ago?"
Soho NEVER EVER was like that. You're outing yourself as a recent arrival. Are you effing kidding me? SoHo being crime ridden and drug infested? SoHo for the last 45 years has been an UPSCALE neighborhood. But anyway, good luck on your new apartment.

Anonymous said...

If you were able to purchase an apartment around here in the last 5 years, then you must be able to afford the fancy restaurants, fancy stores, fancy bars, fancy clubs, etc., that are what this place is made of now. So no wonder you don't have any issue with them. A shnook like me, who has lived here for 30 years, and all of a sudden has to look far and wide for a reasonable diner, or a cheap bar, or a place that can fix my motorcycle, etc., you see how I might feel a little differently about all that stuff?

Gojira said...

GASSTATION, your claim that "Supply and demand says if we have more housing available to meet the increasing demand, then prices wouldn't be quite as sky-high" can be refuted by looking at any real estate listing - no matter how many small old buildings get demolished so huge, gleaming, featureless monoliths can go up in their stead, rents keep doing nothing but rising. Check today's EVG post about The Nathaniel and its apartments that will be renting for $11,500 a month, and how the place going up across the street will be even more expensive. You seem to feel that EVERYTHING is suitable for demolition as long as it provides more "housing" - but for whom? For people born in a much different city who are getting priced out of it, or who have lived here for decades but never managed to flag down the gravy train so many of those flooding in seem to have caught? Or only for students, tourists, the mega-rich, for whom the city is being ripped apart and transmogrified? If there were more equitable projects going in, perhaps our outrage might be ameliorated a bit. But since we see nothing but the city that we have known and cherished in times both good and bad taken away from us wholesale, the outrage and helplessness we feel in the face of such massive destruction is understandable. When graceful old churches come down so yet more students can move in, sorry, I don't find that acceptable. When entire blocks of low-rise stores are wiped out so yet more sun- and light-blocking condos can go in, I find that horrific. None of the bland hordes currently Midwesternizing us would have dreamed of coming here in the "bad old days," so now that it's been made safe, sanitary, and dull, they can't wait to come and suburbanize it yet more. But many of us that consider those "bad old days" to be just the exact opposite. Yes, the city was dirty and dangerous and forbidding, but by God, it was REAL, with history, people of all ages, kinds of employment and incomes, and a vast plethora of apartments, stores and services for us to utilize, not the ever-narrowing field of upscale condos, kiddie fro-yo, hip coffee spots and woo bars with which we now abound. And while no one expected NY to stay in stasis, there is no way any of us could have predicted the speed and ferocity of the upheaval we are witnessing, as our surroundings are ripped away seemingly overnight. There is not another city on earth where those in charge hold its past and its people in such disdain, seeing history merely as something to be gotten rid of in pursuit of profit, and people obstacles to be trampled on in the rush to acquire more and more of it. That does not make those of us who despise this reality any "better", as you so bitterly and repeatedly claim we seem to think it does; I don't think anyone would disagree with you that "some change is good," as you also said. Change is inevitable, nothing stays the same, and like sharks, cities, people and places have to constantly move forward to survive. But this - this is a seismic change that goes beyond anything ever seen in the history of New York. You seem comfortable with that. Those of us who knew and appreciated the old city, we are not. In jeweler's terms, the more facets a diamond has the more valuable it is. This was once a multifaceted city able to offer so many things to so many people, but now, thanks to the clueless and the greed-driven, it is losing the facets that made it so appealing and is turning into a featureless lump of glass. So take comfort in the fact that those of us who rail against what is happening have lost, and people like you who watch with approval have won.

Anonymous said...

Our only hope these days is that the bubble will burst at some point, because our new Mayor is proposing much of the same. He promised to ban the horse draw carriages day 1. He promised to build affordable housing and his plan calls for less than 80,000 new units. Yes he will preserve over 200,000 existing, but we need more then 80,000. The plan is very similar to King Bloomies in that it is all about partnering with private developers, density and re-zoning. So look for more skyscrapers with 20% affordable units all over the city, with "poor doors" for the affordable units, and horse drawn carriages out front for the market-rate residents. Oh he loves all these food fests and other tourist traps. I am kicking myself for voting for him and hoping he messes up the economy so bad, that things go to hell in a hand basket and the city is returned to the people who are willing to deal with a little pain for all the other things we love, like diversity, affordability and character.

Anonymous said...

Gojira, you said it all- and so well. thank you for understanding a stranger like me

Geekazoid said...

**Stands and slow claps**

Gojira, your last comment was absolutely brilliant, insightful and on-point -- and so well-written that I copied it to pass around to friends. Everyone who parrots the tired claim that unchecked market forces will magically make rents more affordable needs to read it. As someone who's lived downtown since the 70's, I can absolutely confirm that while the neighborhood was wilder (yay Wigstock!), it was NEVER the life-threatening hellhole that the wealthy demolitionists now claim. (It was, however, a lot more creative and interesting.)

Hell, I worked at a clothing store in SoHo in the late 70's and that neighborhood was nice *then* (and a lot quieter). This fantasy that NYC was the Wild West and thus glass condos and banks and chain stores are better needs to die. Some change is good, absolutely. Unchecked real estate greed? Not so much.

Anonymous said...

Wow Gojira, right on. Your diamond analogy was perfect - I'll be using that from now on. Featureless lump of glass - perfect description.

Anonymous said...

GASSTATION, I just wanted to point out that "creepy looking dead building" is in fact, a business that is valuable to many locals. It has literally saved me and my sanity on two occasions.

I was in a relationship in the 90s that turned abusive and was able to move my belongings quickly to Varick Street's Manhattan Security Storage, I think it was called then. I was able to sleep on a friend's floor until my old home, an SRO on East 3rd Street, had a vacancy. A few years later that Varick Street location was sold to become housing, and the 2nd Avenue Manhattan Mini Storage took my things as part of the deal to the Varick facilities' customers.

Fast-forward twenty years, and my landlord began eviction proceedings (I was the last of the rent-stabilized tenants.) He kindly offered to store my things for one month, but his lawyer did not tell me where my belongings would end up. Wanting to keep it local, and being able to move everything myself using MMS's dollies, I also want to add that the staff were amazing, kind and helped me keep it together during an extremely stressful time.

People use storage for many reasons, including having too small a living space. One woman, who ran her own business out of her apartment, used MMS to keep old files. Another MMS user, a film director, used the space to keep his lighting and equipment. Many storage facilities are in very out-of-the way places. While I lived in the East Village, I enjoyed being able to store my winter sweaters, coat, and boots in my neighborhood. As an actress and singer, I was able to store my scores, scripts, wigs, and costumes there as well. So, I for one WOULD lobby to keep the sacred Manhattan Mini Storage there.

shmnyc said...

It isn't industrial entities as much as single-story entities that are threatened. Grocery stores are more of a concern than gas stations, in my opinion.

shmnyc said...

It's true that there are fewer gas stations, but more doesn't equal better. People should take a trip up 10th Avenue between 44th and 45th to see the way a gas station should be situated in Manhattan. There are more pumps, and you get in an out much easier than at Avenue C and Houston.

What's more, that Mobil station rigged their pumps.

THE NOTORIOUS L.I.B.E.R.A.T.I.O.N. said...

When we have the next blackout, that gas station is going to come in a lot more handy to fill a generator than a boutique hotel. Gojira brilliantly covered all the bases so I won't reiterate what she's already said but I will say, with each day that passes, I feel more like an outsider in my own neighborhood. These banks, hotels, restaurants, woo-bars, new housing - which I've yet to see a single affordable apartment - chain stores, these things are not for us. They're like a karposi's sarcoma covering a dying city.