Renovation of a long-vacant gas station at Wealthy St. SE and Henry St. SE into a proposed taquería could be moving forward soon. Recently erected construction fence surrounds the property owned by Winchester on Wealthy/Hidden Pearl LLC, implying that preparations are moving forward.
Paul Lee, owner of The Winchester
restaurant (648 Wealthy St. SE) nearby, says preliminary approvals by the Grand Rapids Board of Zoning Appeals
, Grand Rapids Historic Preservation Commission
, and Grand Rapids Planning Commission
are in place, and construction awaits only the needed permits before breaking ground. Lee adds that the restaurant could open in July or August, but declined further comment.
On Oct. 11, 2012, the planning commission approved a proposal to waive the on-site parking requirements for the building, paving the way for construction of an addition that will more than double the size of the existing gas station and include an outdoor seating area. At that meeting, Lee and Ted Lott of Lott3Metz Architecture said the project has support from the neighborhood and area businesses. Lee also stated he would seek a liquor license for the new eatery.
Also mentioned was a seating capacity for 129, which includes approximately 40-60 outside seats and a patio with landscaping.
Lee says his family acquired the property about a year ago and he believes the old gasoline holding tanks were removed in the 1980s.
Source: Paul Lee, The Winchester; Grand Rapids Planning Commission meeting and minutes of Oct. 11, 2012
Writer: Deborah Johnson Wood, Development News Editor