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2017 Kane County Chronicle Best of the Fox

Fuel tanks removed at Batavia gas station slated for redevelopment

Published: Tuesday, March 14, 2017 4:15 p.m. CDT • Updated: Tuesday, March 14, 2017 4:24 p.m. CDT
Caption
(Mark Foster - For Shaw Media)
A bulldozer backfills gravel after workers removed underground fuel storage tanks at the former Marathon gasoline station at the southeast corner of East Wilson Street and Washington Avenue in downtown Batavia.

BATAVIA – Underground fuel storage tanks have been removed from a vacant gasoline station property in downtown Batavia, signaling redevelopment of the site.

The former Marathon station at the southeast corner of East Wilson Street and South Washington Avenue has been closed for about a year and a half, and city officials have been eager to see its gasoline tanks removed.

So has the state fire marshal’s office, which, along with the city, had issued orders to the property’s owners to remove the underground tanks.

Workers from R.W. Collins of Chicago, a firm specializing in excavation and environmental remediation, were completing the removal of the underground tanks, as well as the gasoline pumps, on March 10. The site remains enclosed in a chain-link fence.

The property was purchased last summer by Jester Properties of Bartlett, and the new ownership said at that time it intends to undertake a commercial redevelopment project. The owners at Jester could not be reached for comment.

Batavia Community Development Director Scott Buening said the next step will be the removal of the canopy over the fuel pump area.

Demolition of the building, Buening said, first will require a hearing before the Batavia Historic Preservation Commission.

The gas station property is in the city’s downtown historic district. It is also located within the new tax increment financing district that encompasses the One Washington Place downtown redevelopment project.

The gas station site sits across East Wilson Street from the vacant Baptist church property, which is expected to be demolished in little more than a week or two as part of the redevelopment.

Last summer, Todd Itrich of Jester said the property firm may be interested in redeveloping the half-acre gas station site with a commercial use on the ground floor, and apartments on the second floor.

This would be permitted, Buening said, as the property is in the same downtown mixed-use zoning area as One Washington Place.

Buening said any redevelopment proposal will need to secure a conditional-use permit from the city.

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