Harlem gas station in demand


According to The New York Post this morning (Aug 20), the owners of the Harlem gas station on 110th Street and Frederick Douglass Blvd have been busy fighting off the City of New York from taking over their property.

The article states that Carmie Elmore and a partner took over the gas station in 1981 when Harlem was seedy. Now that Harlem is hot and has been on an upward trajectory for a while, the city apparently owned it at one time and wants its gas station back. Each entity is heading to Manhattan Supreme Court to make its point.

When I first moved to Harlem and was looking at apartments to buy, I remember either my broker or another local telling me this farfetched, ridiculous statement about this corner…get ready for this, which was that it was being eyed by the Donald Trump himself. Did anyone else get fed this line when buying an apartment in South Harlem? I recall someone mentioning that Donald Trump was interested in the Harlem gas station because he wants to own property bookends on the westside of Central Park–one property already exists at Columbus Circle.

Crazy stuff huh? But now that I am reading this article, it makes me wonder what the City is really up to? If Mr. Elmore and his business partner own the gas station and they don’t want to sell it, shouldn’t that be the end of the discussion? Punto! What do you think?

6 responses to “Harlem gas station in demand

  1. Let the gas station stay, there is no other gas station in the area, for blocks.

  2. I think the gas station is great and convenient, not to mention the repair guys are probably some of the most honest I have dealt with, even resetting a sensor for me in my car for free.

    That being said, I remember seeing this story months ago when the city asked for proposals and it implied that the right to purchase it back still existed. Now it is a case of he said/she said as none of us have the opportunity to actually see the purchase/sale agreement between the city and the owner 30 years ago.

    So to answer your question it is not really a question of whether they want to sell or not, it is a question of whether they actually have a choice. Basically the sale agreement had a contingency whereby the city could purchase the property back within a certain period of time.

    I feel bad for the owner because obviously they have put money into the gas station, however as the person in the article was an one of the original partners he clearly knew what he signed, so really it is a question of when the option expired.

  3. That gas station is on one of the most visible and prominent corners of Harlem. It’s site overlooking Central Park should be developed for housing, ideally mixed income and market. The owners of the gas station should, of course, be compensated at full market value.


  4. If that gas station goes, all car owners in the neighborhood LOSE. There’s not another one close by (not that I recall), and there are PLENTY of places to live in that area. As a matter-of-fact, that’s MOSTLY what there is in the area…apartments, brownstones, condos…but only ONE gas station. I used to live in that area (CPW), and I COMPLETELY disagree w/ “Anonymous.”

  5. Cool Blue Reason

    Michael — not true that none of us have seen the agreement. Look it up on ACRIS yourself, if you’re curious. It’s right there for all to see (though it shouldn’t surprise us that no reporters have bothered to do anything other than parrot what they’re told).

    The city has a 20-year option to repurchase the property, starting from the date of the transfer in July of 1996. I’ll leave the math to you…

    I can understand why the private owner isn’t exactly pleased with what’s coming down the pike, but it’s hard to see how he’s anything other than SOL at this point. It’s unthinkable that the City would *not* exercise their option — to fail to do so would be a serious failure to uphold the public’s interest.

    I mean, if 2016 were to come around with no announcement by the City, you’d have to look around to see which public official(s) had been paid off in order for this guy to receive a massive real estate windfall.

    And none of us would be able to enjoy our beloved gas station beyond that point in time either — because you better believe the very next thing to happen is a sale to private developers (unencumbered by the CIty’s repurchase option), and our humble gas station owner pockets his millions (less bribes) and walks away.

    The fact that the City is moving on the option should warm all of our hearts — after all, they’re not quite as corrupt as we might otherwise have feared…

  6. Did anyone else see this Real Deal article on one of the proposals for the 110th St. gas station site?

    This guy wants to build something there equivalent to what has been built at Columbus Circle. And with no affordable housing units included in the project.

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