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“Because for over a year, the Department of Transportation told me that because I had not prepared a business license, there was nothing that could be done for it, which was not true. So now we have an application for the building permit from the building department that is pending. It’s going to need several more hoops for this to go through.”
–LaRayne Walters, PR Executive at Joy Oil Station.
So what is the hold up for the historic gas station at 690 W. Madison Ave. that once boasted 128 pumps? Los Angeles’ only independently-owned gas station that served as a staple at pick-up stands and more importantly had the services of those big 5/8 inch hand crank-operated running boards with hot, meaty meats kept in back rooms. The downtown legend that filled big black stations during rush hour last Tuesday finally appears to be ready to perform – but at a cost to taxpayers in the neighborhood.
Walters explained, “The gas station building was built in 1929, just in time for World War II with a 21-inch concrete slab. That’s basically what we have now. The street needs to go above the ground to make sure it’s being maintained. That cost was about $400,000. We are waiting for a CDBG grant to come through, so the money is now running up against the end of February, so now that is all the city’s money.”
Back in 2014 when they first put the building up for sale, it changed hands several times before it finally sold for about $1.5 million. Walters says it took nine months of ‘negotiating’ to get it for this price again. Walters adds that despite their neighborhood, the gas station service had already taken a hit with the fact it had been running on no electricity and gas for about a year when the land was on the market.
And once the building permit is approved and the gas station is back open, it still needs to work on its daytime parking lot to make sure it is not blocked off by water, traffic or even coyotes. Walters says, “We would like to do some permanent seating in the parking lot to give people a place to be and possibly to also serve local foods and maybe food trucks. Even adding that sidewalk we are hoping to get that renewed as well.”
The Joy Oil Station CEO Jacob Parker hopes they will get everything permitted and open in the middle of 2019.
For more information on the gas station, including photos of the building’s interior and what is in store, visit: https://joyoilmrc.com/