Trashed Triangle gas station finally cleaned up, but future murky

August 10, 2011 at 10:07 pm | In Triangle, West Seattle businesses, West Seattle news | 31 Comments

The formerly-76, once-to-be-converted-to-Arco gas station on the east side of Fauntleroy/Alaska is finally tidier tonight. We’d been looking into the site’s status for three weeks, as WSB’ers continued sending notes asking what we knew about it, as trash and junk continued to accumulate following its sudden closure months ago. We took this photo (and others showing trash/junk around the site) three weeks ago:

That was shortly after a complaint had been filed with the city. The city’s log shows that in the meantime, the site was inspected, found to be in violation, and a warning was issued – clean up by August 14th. Looks so far like they have met that deadline. But what about the station itself?

We had reported back in February that it was being converted to an Arco station. Then the work stalled – the station stopped pumping gas – and the store closed. When we inquired with Arco, a spokesperson told us that “for reasons we don’t know” the conversion never moved forward, and Arco doesn’t “anticipate it ever being converted.” However, the spokesperson made it clear that the site is not owned by Arco, but instead by an area entrepreneur, and even gave us his name and number. Took us a while to reach owner Brandon Kim, but WSB contributor Katie Meyer talked with him by phone yesterday. Asked if the station would reopen, he replied, “Not really,” and told her that he believed a bank would be taking it over. That’s all the comment he had; online records do not indicate any sort of a sale or foreclosure at this point, but we’ll keep an eye out.

SIDE NOTE: The gas station on the west side of the intersection is no longer on the market – we had reported the listing in February, and while the listing was active less than two weeks ago (here’s a cached version). So far, we can’t tell if it was sold, or just de-listed.

31 Comments

  1. The Charlestown Cafe has been vacant for almost 4 months now. The parking lot is collecting cars with expired tabs that don’t move.. The grounds are not looking so great. How does a citizen concerned about their neighborhood get some action before things get worse?

    Comment by todd_ — 10:15 pm August 10, 2011 #

  2. Report to DPD. That’s what somebody obviously did regarding the not-quite-Arco station.
    http://www.seattle.gov/dpd/Compliance/Filing_a_Complaint/default.asp

    Comment by WSB — 10:21 pm August 10, 2011 #

  3. Sounds like Brandon Kim isn’t much of an entrepreneur after all. Seriously, how come our community keeps getting blighted by people who can’t run or even open a business? It’s so sad that there’s no way to keep these morons accountable for what they do a community.

    Comment by TJ — 10:52 pm August 10, 2011 #

  4. So we continue to nickel and dime the heck out of small businesses and then complain when they fail? I don’t blame him for throwing up his hands and giving up. But it’s okay, I’m sure taxing the rich more will help.

    Comment by DC — 11:33 pm August 10, 2011 #

  5. WSB – just curious why it’s obvious that someone reported this property to DPD? You’re always careful about your wording so I’d be curious if there’s a complaint in the online DPD permit tracking system (similar to noise complaints I’ve seen in the DPD system). Thanks.

    Comment by ScottA — 6:03 am August 11, 2011 #

  6. As per our usual style, the phrase “a complaint had been filed with the city” links directly to the DPD online case for that complaint. It of course never says WHO complained – the city keeps that confidential – but it shows when the complaint was filed, when there was an inspection, whether a warning was issued, etc. Just follow the link … TR

    Comment by WSB — 6:08 am August 11, 2011 #

  7. DumbComment

    Comment by CandrewB — 6:08 am August 11, 2011 #

  8. DC: in a country dependent upon gasoline in plentiful supply, the sad fact is that while big oil is making money hand over fist, operating filling station franchises is a risky and not-so-profitable venture. we continue to subsidize the big boys with tax dollars, but offer little relief or protection to the small operators.
    .
    and that’s what they are: hard-working small business people with meager incomes. raising taxes on higher incomes doesn’t affect them either way.

    Comment by redblack — 7:36 am August 11, 2011 #

  9. on another note, i know a little about remediation of gasoline tanks.
    .
    no insurance company will touch that property until those tanks and the surrounding soil are cleaned and removed. and the EPA and DOE watch that process carefully, as they should. the cost of that remediation is extremely high, and it’s a labor-intensive job.
    .
    it’s going to make a sale to any business that isn’t a filling station extremely difficult.

    Comment by redblack — 7:40 am August 11, 2011 #

  10. My husband and I kept wondering why it never reopened? We also noticed all the garbage. Thank you WSB for finding out what was going on.

    Comment by Lola — 8:24 am August 11, 2011 #

  11. From what I can tell, it sounds like the wonderful entrepreneur Brandon Kim never even managed to get the business open, so he doesn’t deserve a lick of sympathy for not being able to make it. Why buy a property you can’t even begin to turn into a business and be forced to abandon it?

    Comment by TJ — 9:25 am August 11, 2011 #

  12. I don’t know how long Mr. Kim had owned the business but he had not “just” purchased it to convert it. It had been at least a few years. I’ll look up the records in a few minutes when I’m out from under a couple other semi-urgent things.

    Comment by WSB — 9:27 am August 11, 2011 #

  13. Since I live near the gas station, I was very glad to see the trash was cleaned up. It would have been nice if all the cement dumped next to the car wash had also been removed. And, it is high time that Cycle University finds another place to put their old sign that’s been sitting next to the car wash ever since they opened. Why don’t they put it in the underground parking space under their business so it isn’t an eyesore.

    Comment by nancy38 — 9:44 am August 11, 2011 #

  14. carwash & coffee

    Comment by waman — 10:14 am August 11, 2011 #

  15. They should remove the trash cans from the site before they start to flow over again. Safeway needs to send out the truck to retrieve some shopping carts abandoned in the Triangle, again. And yes, the Cycle University sign needs to find a home by being installed at their place of business or removed from the car wash bay which they do not have leased.

    Comment by elevated concern — 10:50 am August 11, 2011 #

  16. They should convert that whole area going up to that new apartment complex into a park.

    Comment by John — 11:16 am August 11, 2011 #

  17. The cans have been covered over at the top (see the first picture), so they likely won’t flow over again unless someone removes the covers.

    Comment by LB — 11:44 am August 11, 2011 #

  18. Great. Now we have The Dump across form The Whole Foods Hole. This corner is jinxed.

    Comment by OP — 11:53 am August 11, 2011 #

  19. It was me. I filed the complaint. I live in the Triangle neighborhood and my bus stop to downtown is right across the street from the gas station. I was tired of looking at all the trash and felt the owner should step up and take responsibility. We try to keep our neighborhood tidy by picking up trash when we walk, but it’s not easy in our area. Glad to know that someone listened to me.

    Comment by catlady — 12:48 pm August 11, 2011 #

  20. The site had their tanks remidiated less than 10 years ago. I haven’t seen many gas stations in the Seattle area go bust in recent years (after a spate of “service stations” in the 80′s converted to mini-marts or closed). That location is a gold mine for easy access traffic.

    Comment by Tony S — 1:03 pm August 11, 2011 #

  21. I was suspicious of the conversion to an Arco. Take a close look at the awning facades that have been painted blue- it looks like it was done with house paint and a broom. Arco isn’t in an expansionist mood, it seems, and they don’t roll with broom painted awnings when they do. I’m thinking the conversion never moved forward because the owner didn’t have the money to do it right.

    Comment by valvashon — 1:17 pm August 11, 2011 #

  22. @John, that’s a great idea. It’d be a cool spot for a park.

    Comment by Anon — 3:19 pm August 11, 2011 #

  23. Leave it as it is and turn it in to a Steve Huling memorial.

    Comment by 4thGen West Side — 4:21 pm August 11, 2011 #

  24. @todd_ I called and emailed Rainier Property Management who owns the Charlestown Cafe property and was told they would “try” to get a landscape crew out “soon”. That was well over a month ago. My next step will be reporting it to the city. The bottom line is that they don’t care – they are in Everett and don’t have to look at the mess and knee-high weeds and if they can save a few dollars by letting it become an overgrown and trashed lot it doesn’t affect them one way or another.

    Comment by liveherenow — 6:51 pm August 11, 2011 #

  25. I also filed a complaint last month about what my son calls “Garbage Gas Station.” I was particularly concerned because this site is very close to four day care/pre-schools and two bus stops. My son was very pleased to see that our complaint with the city worked.

    Comment by Susan — 8:33 pm August 11, 2011 #

  26. Thanks @liveherenow.
    .
    Absentee landlords really get my blood boiling!:)

    Comment by todd_ — 9:08 pm August 11, 2011 #

  27. The site had their tanks remidiated less than 10 years ago.

    .
    no, they didn’t, and i challenge you to prove otherwise.
    .
    those tanks were operational until the station closed in – what? – april? they can’t be fully remediated while they’re still pumping gas.
    .
    but feel free to buy the site and tell me what your bank and insurance company say about it.

    Comment by redblack — 9:34 pm August 11, 2011 #

  28. Speaking of tanks, for anyone who cares, we learned while doing more research on the surrounding area today that the Shell station – recently up for sale, now off the market, as we note in this story – is planning to remove its tanks and replace them with larger ones, according to the DPD permit filing … TR

    Comment by WSB — 9:36 pm August 11, 2011 #

  29. I just sent Tracy an email.
    Looks like this site just applied for Ecology’s VCP on 7/14/2011. I am guessing they found plenty of soil or groundwater contamination recently.

    FYI, for the previous debate, this site has been on Ecology’s Leaking Underground Storage Tank (LUST) list since 1992.

    Comment by Mike — 9:37 am August 12, 2011 #

  30. I filed a complaint with DPD as well. Received a phone call for further clarification of my complaint and within 2 weeks it was cleaned up. I am pleased with the city’s action and people should know that this policy works in our communities.

    Comment by elevated concern — 12:08 pm August 12, 2011 #

  31. mike: thanks for doing that “leg” work. leaking underground tanks… awesome. so that eliminates its future as a possible filling station. might be why BP pulled out.
    .
    if the owner goes through with remediation after he finds out what’s involved, once it’s cleaned, that property will be worth investing in. it’s all about the location.
    .
    but if he can’t make a go as a franchisee, i wonder if he can afford to have the pumps and awnings hauled away, concrete completely removed, all of the tanks cut out and hauled away, contaminated soil removed, soil inspection/monitoring system installed, and then backfilled with clean fill.

    Comment by redblack — 9:05 am August 13, 2011 #

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