A gas station used to be there

“A gas station used to be there.” This is true of the corner of James and Midler. A gas station used to be on approximately every corner in Eastwood, based on some comments I heard at TNT Monday night. And that might have been true. But saying “a gas station used to be there” as justification for a new one being put in at the same location is like saying “An oil city used to be there” as justification for putting in even bigger, taller, brighter oil tanks at the northern entrance to Syracuse. Just because we used to do it doesn’t mean that it necessarily is or is not a good idea. Let’s debate this one on its own merits, not the merits of a period of cheap, plentiful oil, now fast waning.

If we must have a gas station (before it’s converted to an electricity dispensing station or fuel cell store), then let’s be sure we’re looking at all the options.

In this article, Urban Blight: It’s a Gas!, you’ll see quite a variety of gas stations, all of which have been built and which make economic sense to someone.  Which might make sense for our neighborhood now, in 2009?

What about the design of the whole site, if we assume a gas station must go in at this corner? It could be any of those in the above article, or it could be something like the lower picture you see here:


I see the Real Food Co-op and an ice cream parlor on the lower floor, luxury apartments on the second floor and a roof garden on the top. What do you see?

7 thoughts on “A gas station used to be there”

  1. Regarding design … Is there an existing gas station/convenience store in Syracuse that could serve as a design to emulate for this site?


    Regarding uses … A bakery would be wonderful. Shoe repair would be nice. A grocery store could fill the void that will be created with the departure of P&C. Other possibilities are bicycle sales and repair; a police storefront; and a shoe store (for WALKABLE Eastwood!).


    Pitch In.


  2. I hate the thought of *another* gas station going in, but find the second design somewhat palatable. A building that attracts and retains locally owned businesses — not chains — is a heck of a lot better than a decrepit old building with no business.

  3. The second design is not only palatable – it makes good sense. The fact that there is no other gas station at that corner dictates that people would quickly become aware of its presence behind the corner building and the daily customer counts for the Sunoco convenience store would not suffer one bit (and aren’t the sales in the store what these modern gas stations are really all about?). I don’t know if the drawing includes enough parking spaces to meet code but I really, really like the idea.

    There are neighborhoods that really don’t need a gas station or do not need another one. back in the late 1960’s the Westcott Street business district had a gas station/service station at the corner of Dell Street (Mr. Epstein’s – I think it was a Mobil). Don’t ya know… Atlantic Richfield felt obligated to build and open a brand new Arco station in the middle of the block (tore down a decent old building to do it). The Arco station lasted all of three or four years before both it and the Mobil closed their doors as the gas retail business migrated to big bust corners like Erie Blvd. 7 Teall Ave. As reworks go I’ve seen much worse than the Dorian’s Pizza that now occupies the old Arco station but we didn’t need to lose a building from that neighborhood in the first place.

    Don’t get me started about the city of Syracuse tearing down the Ostrom Pharmacy building at the corner of South Beech and Westcott in order to make left turns onto Westcott from Beech easier to negotiate. If you saw that classic old structure in its day and thought it would be torn down for “progress” you’d just cry. Can’t find photos of it anywhere online but my mom has a watercolor painting of that building and corner.

  4. I love this idea! It is the best of both worlds. If this building were to go up on the
    corner of James and Midler, I would personally do everything I could to put a bakery in

  5. The village of Rhinebeck has a great history of promoting (indeed, forcing) smart growth; among other chains, Mobil acquiesced and built a gas station with all the pumps hidden behind a terrific stone building on the street. Not sure how to post a photo of it.

    Just because Sunoco doesn’t want to hide the pumps and signage and build out to the sidewalk doesn’t mean it cannot be done. Sounds like a potentially bad neighbor to me. Good to tell them thanks but no thanks. No development is better than bad development.

  6. This message is to Owen O’Neill, we are searching for missing information in our family tree and are very interested in seeing this watercolor painting of the Ostrom Pharmacy building. Please contact me at rainlock@hotmail.com. Thanks!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *