Empty

January 7, 2013 § 1 Comment

What we have here is a Silverlake de/construction mystery.

Long ago, a gas station sat in this space, the sort that looked as if it had once served Model Ts: one small service bay, one deck for pumps, one tiny office, a little bit of pavement. By the time I arrived in the neighborhood, however, the structure was being used as a repair garage with a few used cars for sale on the side. Then the used cars took over and the place became a sales lot. IMG_2582

And then the building and lot were emptied out, the structure demolished. The lot stayed vacant, long enough for Delancey Street’s Christmas tree lot to become a seasonal fixture.

Two years ago, the pavement was jack-hammered up, someone erected a chain link fence, and Delancey Street was preempted. The occupant of an adjacent building told me someone had told her a four-story building was to be erected in the space.

A four-story building on that little lot?  At an intersection flush with commuter traffic racing to the freeway morning and evening? Where fire trucks from the station across the street plunge into traffic, sirens blaring?  A building that would tower over  every other edifice in the vicinity? At a corner angled so that drivers can’t see pedestrians in the crosswalk? 

It seemed improbable and, in fact, other than a bulldozer leveling the ground many months ago, the lot remains empty.

These de/construction projects have a fairy tale quality: unknown figures make decisions about our neighborhood, unseen forces reshape the landscape. And then, one day, POOF! A new building arises, a new business is established, and we all move on.

Except those of us who remember a tiny former gas station where a mechanic fixed cars and sold a few on the side.

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