Lead architect for the project, Bart Abraczinskas, told BuzzFeed News the pumps were in very good shape, and that the project was costly for a reason. “We know the pump house works,” he said. “But the total overhaul to bring it up to modern standards has cost $400,000.”
And yet the pumps are still sitting unused. The city said there’s no date for when the building will be open for business, but Joy Oil owner Scott Walter tells the Washington Post they should be in business by the end of March. He also told the Post that the city did consult with companies interested in the station:
When Joy Oil approached the city, they were flooded with interest, according to one person who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the city did not want to publicly discuss its negotiations. But developers offered lower bids and/or involvement at the site that Joy Oil did not want. Walter said in a phone interview Tuesday that he made a last-minute offer to develop the building without using state funds. He said that several companies expressed interest in redeveloping the gas station as a building, as well. But state officials told him that building the business out of his own pocket wasn’t economically feasible and that the city would not give him money to do that, Walter said. Walter acknowledged that his proposal to redevelop the building without a public grant came a few days before a deadline, but he said he wasn’t able to push the state’s deadline back and as a result he didn’t meet the city’s requirement to submit a financial plan for the station before October 2018.
Walter has explained on Twitter that he plans to get the pumps working by adding a heating system.
I’m passionate about these old pump house and I’ve heard from a lot of individuals. So did the team (and council members) have pressure to make it work? Yes. I had the option to move the station out of that area for a WHOPPING $500,000 and stay where it sits now (lack of heat, no refrigeration, etc.). I would have moved the station OUT if that were available so customers could have the convenience of my “brand new” and (heating) station. Trust me, it’s a PUBLIC asset. Therefore, I will make the necessary $250,000 by install heating/cooling in the station so people can buy gas here, and also do something RIGHTNEXT DOOR so the customers can’t buy gas (as they did at the time of placement of my pump house) and the Station will continue to pump the gas (before the fire).
At least one local, shames the developer responsible for the failure to power up the pumps:
Sad that one of the most beautiful gas stations ever constructed in DC now doesn’t have working pumps due to development coming in. — Chip Madison (@ChipMadison) February 19, 2019