One of the last gas stations in the neighborhood has closed, and a large development is likely going to go up in its place. The BP station at 110th street and Central Park West shut down in the past few days. The person who answered the phone on Tuesday told us the city was taking possession of the site. The Bloomberg administration wants a residential and retail development to rise on the site.
Unless we’re mistaken, that leaves just one gas station on the Upper West Side — the one on the North side of 96th street near Riverside Drive. The 110th street station, which has apparently been open since 1981, also had a car repair shop. Yoni, who tipped us off to the closing, says “they’ve been the only neighborhood mechanic for about 25+ years and are all losing their jobs.”
The site was privately owned, at least as of last year, but the city had claimed that it had the right to reacquire it as part of the deed of sale.
The city put out a request for expressions of interest last year for developers to build on the site, asking for them to include affordable housing in the development, as well as retail space, including a spot for the current owner to possibly rent. Local councilwoman Inez Dickens had opposed the city’s plan to take possession of the site, because she said the gas station is needed and didn’t want the business owner to lose everything he had invested.
The owner of the gas station sued the city in August 2012, claiming that its right to reacquire the property had already run out. He said that that closing the station would put 21 people out of work.
“They didn’t want it when it was in such terrible disarray over there, and now that things are good, they want to take it and do something different with it,” [owner Carmie] Elmore told The Post. “I understand what they want, but I know it’s not right, and I know it’s not fair, and that’s why we’re fighting it.”
If the city did purchase the lot, it will be interesting to find out how much was paid: the real estate there has risen astronomically since the current owner bought the land in 1996.
Update: The station is now operating as a Western Union, according to Harlem Condo Life, but is unlikely to stay that way.