What’s Happening Here? Eighth Avenue and 13th Street

Walking near Jackson Square in the West Village, you may have wondered what will become of the site of the former Lukoil gas station. Located at the southwest corner of Eighth Avenue and West 13th Street, the gas station and mini-market closed down in September 2011 and the lot has been covered by a construction wall since October.  GVSHP has received more than a few nervous calls from neighbors and observers wondering “what’s getting built there?”

May 17, 2012


Looking at the photo above you can see that the mini-market is still there. We looked into the permit history of this lot through the Department of Buildings (DOB) website and found that a permit was issued in August 2011 for the removal of “three (3) underground storage tank systems”, though no change in use was recorded. The latest issued permit for this lot dates from March of this year and notes that two underground storage tank systems are being installed. Based on this information, it appears that the site will continue to be used as a gas station.

GVSHP actively monitors DOB permit activity in the West Village, Gansevoort Market, NoHo and the East Village so we will continue to see how this site evolves in the coming months. The site is also located within the Greenwich Village Historic District, so if plans were to change, any potential new construction would have to be approved by the Landmarks Preservation Commission. Their decision would come after a lengthy public review and approval process which any member of the public can weigh in on (of course, you can find out if there are plans for any significant changes to a landmarked site anywhere in our neighborhoods by checking GVSHP’s ‘Landmarks Applications Webpage‘, which will also tell you the status of any application, and how you can weigh in if a decision has not yet been rendered).

Curious minds couldn’t stop there, however. Here at Off the Grid we were interested in finding out the history of this site, and we’ve found some great historic images to share with you.

(top) February 14, 1932 (bottom) June 24, 1932 (courtesy of the NYPL Digital Gallery)

In 1932, this portion of the Eighth Avenue block between Horatio and West 4th Streets was filled with modest 19th century three-story row houses. Stores occupied the ground floors of each building, and companies such as those selling keys, “bottler’s supplies” and malt hops occupied these spaces. Visible in the background of the top photo is 320 West 13th Street, the large loft/office building also visible in the present day photo.

The block on April 9, 1940 (courtesy of the NYPL Digital Gallery)

In 1940, or shortly prior to that year, the corner six-bay building was demolished for a gas station (the information on the NYPL photo card notes “the new gas station“). The photo above indicates that Weber’s Auto Service was the first auto-related company on the site.

A DOB Certificate of Occupancy dated 1963 reveals that, in that year, the storefront located in the building at 51-53 Eighth Avenue was used as a cat shelter and veterinary’s office; the upper floors were used as cat wards and caretaker’s quarters. In 1974, a demolition permit was filed for the remaining three-story buildings on this row, and by 1976 a Certificate of Occupancy noted that an “automotive service establishment” existed here.

Source: Google Maps, June 2011

Until the early fall of 2011, the gas station and mini-market shown above provided a fuel stop for taxis and commuters. GVSHP will continue to monitor this site for any future changes, but, for now, it appears a gas station will be returning to this West Village corner.

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Amanda Amanda was GVSHP's Director of Preservation & Research from January 2012 to July 2015.