America is generally recognized as having the need for “bigger and better”, as it tends to look towards a future endowed with a more modern touch. Although this need for modernization doesn’t seem like much of a problem, America’s vintage businesses and buildings are slowly being demolished and their allure is disappearing because of it.
One particular building at Highland Avenue and Willoughby in Los Angeles was at risk for being knocked down. It was an old gas station at one point, but thanks to Starbucks, which is taking over the building, it will be made into a popular coffee spot. Instead of the customers driving in to get gas, they will be driving in for a cup of coffee and a tasty treat.
In a city like Los Angeles, all empty space is reused. If there is a building that is deemed unworthy or not useful, the city will not hesitate to destroy it to put up something newer and better. Thankfully, this gas station was spared.
The senior store design manager for Starbucks, Jonathan Alpert, caught wind of the empty gas station. He had heard that the Gilmore area business was still full of the 1930’s art-deco designs and trimmings that scream of old Hollywood. He just knew that the old building and business had potential, and this forethought made him spring upon the opportunity to turn the gas station into a branch of the popular coffee chain.
Alpert said that the Art dDeco structure was built in 1935 during the early days of California’s automobile age and its Golden Era of film making in Hollywood. It had been an operable gas station for several decades; later Mobil and Texaco took it over, and it was finally closed in the 1990s.
Alpert and his team had spent two long years restoring the gas station to make it look historically accurate. They had somewhat of a challenge to make it look like it did nearly 80 years ago. One of the most difficult repairs was trying to get the sweeping cantilevered canopies fixed since it was reported during the first inspection that these were all falling apart. In order for the building to be opened as a business once again, the ceilings would have to be fixed to be structurally sound.
Starbucks made sure that it went out of its way to make the business look good again. Since it is a publicly traded company, its usual goal is to make more profit for the shareholders. However, if it continues to expand and grow as a company, its officials want to make sure that they are doing that in a responsible way. Some believe that it may have been easier to just bulldoze the building completely to rebuild a more modern coffee shop. However, Alpert fell in love with the historical aspect of it and remodeled it to make sure the customers feel as though they just time-traveled back to the 1930s.
The idea of restoration seems like a good thing to do because of the history certain buildings represent. However, the person who buys the building or home must be sure they have enough money to make that restoration happen. There’s a certain point where a person must either step away from the project or determine to follow through with it. In most cases, older buildings are damaged beyond fixing up. Sadly, this happens all the time worldwide, resulting in the buildings finally being demolished for something newer to be put up.