9+ ways to reuse and redevelop a former gas station

There are lots of ways to approach gas station redevelopment and there are lots of examples of gas station reuse.The two primary things we look at when looking to redo a gas station are:

  1. environmental risk: were  there any leaks, are the tanks still there, what type of tanks and equipment is in existence?
  2. The lot size: many former gas stations are on small lots ranging from .15 to .5 acre. Many of these lots are too small to do much with at all. 

For environmental checks we do a quick search, Phase I or Phase II. The results of these reports determine the risk and next steps. Highly desirable sites can have higher environmental risk that can be dealt with due to the extra dollars in the deal. Sites that are not as desirable and have enviro risk are harder to deal with unless the seller can kick in more than a few bucks or unless the state/Feds have dollars available for remediation. 

Small sites are predicated on the lot size, building footprint and zoning. What can be built? Is there enough parking? What is the current highest and best use for the site. These are physical and legal limitations. 

Ideal sites for gas station reuse and redevelopment have:

  • Over .5 acres of land
  • Lighted intersection
  • High traffic counts
  • No or low enviro issues

As for what use to put there, the market will dictate. What were previous gas sales at the location? Are there other newer gas stations nearby? What are the day and night traffic patterns? Is there a better use altogether like fast food, coffee, retail or even mixed use?

Here are examples of gas station reuse and redevelopment:

  • Another gas station (duh)
  • Cafe or diner
  • Sandwich shop
  • Retail
  • art gallery
  • Visitors center
  • Fast food
  • Scrape: drug store, fast food, banks, residential 
  • Maybe nothing. Some sites just can't be reused

If you have a gas station and are in need of gas station reuse or redevelopment advice or want to sell it, give us a ring at 1-866-538-1777 or email us. 

We can and would love to help with your former gas station. 

How 5 Former Auto Parts Stores have been Reused and Redeveloped


We love seeing how other property owners and developers are reusing buildings built for one thing and turning them into another. Auto parts stores are fairly easy to reuse due to their (usually) square or rectangle footprint, good street visibility and ample parking. At the end of the day though, not anything will succeed in these locations. It is best to do a market analysis of what types of businesses are in demand for a specific location. (Hint: we can help you with that)

Here are five reuses and redevelopments of former auto parts stores from around the country:

Transforming an auto parts store into a fine wine destination

Hammonton, NJ

NJ Winebar former auto parts

The classy but casual wine bar/restaurant, open seven years, is located in a former auto parts store. Instead of spark plugs and wiper fluid, there are hundreds of wine bottles -- reds on one side, whites on the other.

"It was a risky move, but it was advantageous because there wasn't anything like this here,'' said Jacki Dolan, who owns Annata with her brothers, Matt and Phillip.

Auto Parts Store converted to Medical Offices

Albuquerque, NM


Top Molina officials were in Albuquerque Thursday to celebrate the opening of the company’s 7,000-square-foot clinic on Central Avenue in the heart of the city’s International District. The clinic, housed in a former auto parts store, will eventually have three doctors who will be able to see 75 to 90 patients a day.

Former Auto Parts Store turn into Apartments

Chicago, IL

bluestar auto

The property that was once the famed Cullerton Hotel and then later the Blue Star Auto Parts store is ready to transition into a new use: apartments. Announced early last year, the plan has just received permits to begin major renovation work on the four story brick building at 2001 S State Street in the South Loop. Initially proposed to feature 25 rental units, the permit indicates that the development will actually have 22 apartments. Ground floor retail will also be a part of the plan, although the permit doesn't spell out exactly how much space there will be for commercial tenants.

Former Auto Parts Store and Auto Body Turned Music Venue

New Haven, Connecticut

Outside-Spaceland-Ballroom 720x540_zpsaqd9mdyf

The Spaceland Ballroom, a 300-person capacity music and arts venue.

The Space (since 2003) exists to build a safe, positive community for people of all ages through music and the arts. Physically, we are a listening room venue located in an unlikely industrial park in a sleepy suburb of New Haven, Connecticut. So we definitely have that whole mystery thing going for us. We’re somewhat small in venue size (150 capacity), but we house a whole lot of love and a whole lot of decorations. You can spend a few months mentally cataloging all the weird random things hanging from our walls and ceilings. We have a large stage that is the focal point of the room. We have a Vintage Boutique (The Attic) and 80s arcade upstairs. We also have a Cafe that serves awesome food and there is an expansive outdoor patio area that has comfortable seating. The Space is basically halfway between an underground arts collective and a sticky floor rock venue. There’s carpet, a checkered floor and a staff made of awesome people. There are velvet couches crazy lamps and over 50 different flavors of tea. There’s also rock and roll, folk, acoustic orchestras, independent film, SKA, experimental, indie shows, and more happening on our stage. We have hosted hundreds and hundreds of national, regional and local bands since we opened in early 2003. We are a venue run by musicians for musicians.

Auto Parts Store converted to Laundromat

Winooski, Vermont


The family started planning to open a laundromat four years ago, and it took almost a year and a half to find the perfect location, Chris Asanya said. Finally, they happened upon a former auto parts store that was being used for storage in Winooski and began to plan.

Do you own a former auto parts store or is there a vacant one in your neighborhood? Call us, we can help: 1-866-539-1777

How The Nation's Old Armories Are Being Repurposed And Redeveloped


They tend to be imposing structures. Built to contain ammunition, troops and sometimes even cavalry horses and equipment, military armories were made for a time when war could be just around the corner.

But times have changed; the military’s mission is not what it was, and units are smaller.

So when the armed forces move to more cost-effective spaces, what happens to the old armories?

The answer is simple: repurpose the buildings into something else.

An armory might end up as an office complex, a farmers’ market, or even shops, restaurants and condos; all it takes is funding and some imaginative people with a plan.

An old armory that can pay for itself


When Peterborough, N.H. acquired the old Air National Guard armory in town, it didn’t anticipate the Guard taking, as a town official put it, “everything but the kitchen sink. And the kitchen sink wasn't even usable because it wasn't up to code."

Once fixed, the mandate came down: no new taxes for operating costs. So the town’s recreation director got creative; the drill hall is rented out for farmers’ and flea markets, the Recreation Department holds exercise classes there, and the town food pantry operates from there as well. The Cornucopia Project, which teaches young people about organic gardening, has space behind the armory and gives away the harvest through the food bank. Finally, after a fundraising campaign that raised $162,000, the town installed a commercial kitchen.

"We've lost a lot of opportunities here to generate income because we haven't had a commercial kitchen. Now we can lease out this facility and be sure that it's self-sustaining,"

-Select Board Chairman Barbara Miller

From bullets to books: the Armory at Sage


The armory in Albany, NY sat vacant—until a local college saw it and picked it up for the bargain price of $675,000. For a site that included 68,000 square feet of space on a three-acre site, it was a steal for Sage College.

Starting in 2012, the college renovated disused space into 21,000 square feet of seminar rooms, classrooms, a conference room, student lounge, and faculty offices. Phase 2 will be more classrooms and faculty offices, while Phase 3 will be the big project: turning the three-story-high “drill shed” into a multipurpose area that both the college and community can use.

“For nearly 90 years, the National Guard used this building to serve the Capital Region and our country. We are proud The Armory at Sage will continue that tradition, preparing our students to serve their community.”

-Sage College President Susan Scrimshaw

Keeping the bones, but revamping the interior: why the Culver Road Armory is a success

culver armory redevelopment

When the Culver Road Armory in Rochester, NY was decommissioned in 2012, buyers had a plan to make it relevant again: turn it into a mixed-use development with offices, shops and restaurants. To help pay for it, developers asked for and got a 20-year payment-in-lieu-of-tax agreement from the County of Monroe Industrial Development Agency, a $2 million loan from city nonprofit agency Rochester Economic Development Corp, and $450,000 in pre-development money from the city as well. The total cost: about $14 million.

The new Culver City Armory has been a success, Chris Stevens, the head of the local neighborhood association, told the local paper:

“It has become just a vibrant property, full of life. The architecture is beautiful.”

The facility has done so well that additional office space has been added behind the building, and a six-story, 10-condominium building is also in the works.

Repurposing an armory takes time, lots of money and dedication. But as Angela Miller, who is part of a group trying to turn the West Chester, Pa., armory into a theater said, “It’s such a unique opportunity to take this building and really recreate that community space.”

REuse Profile: Church converted to offices


A nice REuse project score this week from the twitterverse. A former church in Sparks (Reno) Nevada has been converted to office spaces. Saw this tweet from Linda @thebrokerlist

And the conversation went....

From the Reno-Gazette Journal:

It was built more than 110 years ago in Wadsworth as Emmanuel First Baptist. In 1904, it was moved to 1188 Victorian Plaza Circle in Sparks.

A complete remodel has spiffed up the antique interior and exterior and brought building systems up to code.

"Our goal was to use today's technology and keep the original look," the owner said in an email.

"Saving a little of 'Old Sparks' was very rewarding," he wrote.

The Vitamin Vault - Walgreens in Historic Bank


This is a Walgreens store located inside a historic bank building in Chicago. It has been a very talked about redevelopment project including Huffington Post and Forbes. I came across this photo on Instagram: walgreens-former-bank
from Instagram
via jorgemus
The Vitamin Vault #chicago #architecture #bank #walgreens #farmacy #vitamins #vault #door #metal #health #shopping #design

Here is an exterior shot before the signs went up:


Former Bank Building #adaptivereuse as AT&T retail #cre

from Instagram
via realtmo
Former Bank Building #adaptivereuse as AT&T retail #cre

Historic Bank Property to become Brewpub

Historic Bank Reuse

Always looking for examples of historic reuse as well as certain property type reuse (like banks, movie theaters, bowling alleys, etc). Saw this on facebook tonight. Seems like a steal @ $26 psf despite the redevelopment cost.

via Frank Thomas Big Hurt brewpub on deck in Berwyn - News - Crains Chicago Business:

The Berwyn City Council last week approved a redevelopment ordinance to convert the 6,500-square-foot local landmark to the flagship brew house. The 88-year-old limestone building will be sold for $200,000

Looks like the City was eager to put a deal together.  This comes via the loopnet listing:

For the right end user, the City will use the following incentives:

- Land write-down to $500,000 for 50,000 square feet of land + historic bank building - A 100% write down of $500,000 in previous investment - Expedited Permitting - Class L Property Tax Exemption - Historic Income Tax Credits

This iconic structure is currently owned by the City of Berwyn. The City is looking to bring a unique concept to the location that residents will be proud of. The City is willing to be very aggressive with the sale price and will consider lease terms as well.

The building was structurally restored in 2010 and is extremely spacious. Nearly 6,000 SF of open space on the ground floor and an additional 1,600 SF split between two mezzanine areas.

Rather than speculative developers or investors, the offering price is designed to bring a unique end user into the City.

Located in the heart of Berwyn's bustling Cermak Road, the Berwyn National Bank building sits at the crossroads of Cermak Road (33,900 ADT) and Oak Park Ave (11,400 ADT).

Zoned C-2 (General Commercial) with Retail Overlay.

Shared parking with access to the municipal parking lot across the street.

Please send us any more examples of Bank Reuse or other historic property reuse. I am happy to post any of your projects.


Historic Bank Reuse

Reuse and redevelopment of former bank branches


Put your thinking cap on.  How do we reuse and re-purpose all these old buildings? It seems to me the "greenest" building is an existing one.  Why build new when you can buy for 20% of replacement cost?

Specifically, this is a former Citibank branch in a decent location within a major western MSA. The building is about 10,000 sf total (half ground level and half basement). Branch is fully finished and built out as a bank with drive thru lanes, teller counters, office, conference rooms and all furniture. It is for sale or for lease and owner is open to redevelopment.

Let me know your ideas.....

Networking Opportunity for Reuse of Existing Buildings

Also, if you are interested in reuse and redevelopment of existing buildings please let me know. I will be forming a networking group of those interested. This would also go for properties that you own or have listed that are taking a long time to sell/lease, are functionally obsolete or are just plain "weird". I am thinking we can help each other out with some regular brainstorming sessions of how to redevelop and reuse odd buildings and make them easier to sell or lease.  If interested, email here or tweet me.

How can this historic building best be used?


How can this historic building best be used? For the community? For the users? For the owners? Winning Idea will get $100 Amazon Gift Certificate!!

Contest Here:

Former Masonic Temple Building, Montrose CO

509, 511, 513 East Main Street, Montrose CO

We invite local residents, business leaders and government officials to share ideas and vote! Even if you live 3,000 miles away, we want to hear you ideas also.

Here are some details of the building, it is currently for lease and for sale:

Former Montrose Masonic Temple

Pictures of Building