Former gas station would be turned into a restaurant
Local business owners Gary and Nick Hammers and Jeremy Reed want to convert a section of vacant structures in downtown La Salle, including a former gas station, into an indoor/outdoor retail space.
They made their pitch Monday to the La Salle City Council.
The project would be located on city-owned lots at 324, 328, 330 and 362 Third Street — across the street from Becks — that are home to multiple existing structures. The developers asked for donation and control of the properties. The council will discuss and decide on the proposal later.
The former gas station will be turned into a restaurant/bar, titled The Filling Station, with the existing warehouse to be converted into multiple retail spaces, each about 1,200 square feet.
The idea for the project was sparked by the success of other local businesses, such as Psycho Silo in Sheffield and Jamie’s Outpost in Utica.
The developers also intend for the Filling Station to have a drive-up window but they were unsure of the specifics of it with the given space.
The upper level of the warehouse would be converted into a mix of apartments and Airbnb’s consisting of 900 to 1,200 square feet each. The second floor locations will include a balcony developers believe will be a draw for residents/customers.
Gary Hammers said their goal is to make the location a place people can stay and experience the best La Salle has to offer.
“We think that it will be a destination that people will come to and stay for three-day weekends and be able to do a whole lot,” he said. “We think that’ll work, it’s up to us to make it work.”
Another part of the proposed project will include a courtyard/greenspace between 362 and 330 Third Street buildings that will be pet and family friendly.
This open space would allow for the staging of multiple communal events including car shows and cruise nights, among other activities.
“The big key draw is the outdoor green space,” Gary Hammers said. “That’s going to be our draw because what we really want is to make it look like the gateway to our downtown. That’s our vision.”
Parking will be addressed for the increase in retail space by demolishing two buildings west of 332 Third St. This will create an estimated 35-40 parking spaces in the newly formed lot as well as an additional 15-20 spaces directly in front of the 330 Third St. lot.
The total cost of the renovations are estimated to be close to $1 million with the location expected to include heated spaces to ensure it can be utilized year-round.
The project would take a lot of ground work in order to get the location up and running but Gary Hammers said they are prepared for what lies ahead.
“You try to walk through the building now and even with a young healthy person it could fall down,” he said. “We anticipate doing a lot of the repairs and those things on our own.”
He said their intention will be to use solely local contractors and builders to complete the renovations at the location.
The project will be completed in stages with the first stage involving the completion of the Filling Station restaurant/bar expected to be completed around April. The following stage involving the retail and living spaces is expected to take 18 months to complete in total.