Above: Washington Avenue in 1960 and today. 1207 Washington is the center building.
Updated Tuesday at 1:12 p.m.
A 123-year-old building on Washington Avenue will likely be demolished to expand Bobby and Steve's Auto World, after receiving sign off from a city panel.
The gas station chain is free to seek wrecking permits after no one stepped forward to appeal the August 11 decision of the city's heritage preservation commission allowing demolition. The commission's vote contradicted city staff, who had recommended that the property be protected and studied for possible historic designation.
Most recently a floral wholesale business, the building at 1207 Washington Avenue South was originally constructed to house a prominent Swedish saloon in what was then a thriving Scandinavian district.
Bobby and Steve's still needs the city to approve their ultimate plans for the site, which are collectively intended to make the area easier for vehicles to maneuver. The demolition of 1207 Washington and some other structures will allow for easier access to gas pumps, as well as a widening of the narrow back alley to 12th Avenue.
Representatives of the company did not return a request for comment Monday. It is unclear if they will proceed with the demolition prior to city approval of the overall plans. Company co-owner Steve Williams said Tuesday that he will discuss it with his builder.
"We want to do all this under this construction season," Williams wrote in an e-mail. "If tearing down expedites the process then we will. If tearing down later does not slow the overall project then we will wait."
In approving the demolition application, the heritage preservation commission found that the 1207 Washington building had lost most of its integrity due to in part to alterations -- though it also sustained fire damage. The vote was 7-2.