After years of legal wrangling, the historic Canyon Gas Station on Entrada has been preserved and is finally expected to reappear in the summer of 2006— in its new incarnation— as the architectural office of new owner and neighbor, Scott Prentice. The Marquez estate sold the historic property to adjoining neighbor, Chris Hoffman, in June 2005. Mr. Hoffman originally planned to donate the historic building to the Peterson Automotive Museum.To avoid the dismantling of the station, the Santa Monica Civic Association, filed an application with the Los Angeles Cultural Heritage Commission to obtain Historic-Cultural Monument status for the station. The Los Angeles Conservancy and others supported the plan. To assure the application met all City criteria, the SMCCA hired a consultant to prepare the application. City Council approval protects the station building from being torn down or moved, and any restoration/rehabilitation is required to meet certain standards. Another adjoining neighbor of the station, architect Scott Prentice, contacted Mr. Hoffman with a solution for historic preservation and adaptive reuse of the station. Mr. Prentice proposed to buy a portion of the property containing the historic building, restore the station as closely as possible to its original 1924 state, and to use it as the new home for his architecture practice. He also proposed to build a 400 square foot office behind the station for additional office space, as well as a 6-ft. by 30-ft. lap pool for his family’s use. Chris Hoffman was immediately enthusiastic and supportive of the proposed project and worked directly with Scott Prentice to include neighbor input and city staff support.As part of the deal, the underground fuel tanks were removed and the City of Los Angeles Fire Department verified the property as a clean site. In addition approvals were obtained from City Cultural Heritage Commission on the proposed historic preservation. Mr. Prentice also obtained necessary approvals of variance and lot line adjustment as a condition of transfer. Escrow closed in early December 2005.The new owner has now begun the process of readapting the station as his new office. Prentice’s goals include LEED certification for the project by the US Green Building Council for a sustainable, high performance green development. To that end he has started removing the station’s concrete paving which is being stockpiled to reuse as site walls for the project. Also proposed are solar energy panels, radiant floor heating and drought tolerant landscaping.Ed. Note: This article originally appeared in the Santa Monica Canyon Civic Association News.
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