Albemarle Council approves rezoning of old Sinclair gas station

Published 5:47 pm Tuesday, March 21, 2023

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The old Sinclair gas station at the corner of North Second Street and Montgomery Avenue, which is nearly 100 years old, will soon be given new life as the Albemarle City Council approved an ordinance to rezone the property from Neighborhood Business District (NBD) to Residential Office (RO).

The plan is for the space to be converted into a living space for artists Jack Williams and Eli Williams, who will be moving back to the city to open up their own art business, according to applicant and father John Williams. He said the property will also serve as their studio.

John Williams told Council an environmental study was completed several years ago, including testing of the soil, and everything checked out.

The brothers recently completed two ghost murals in downtown Albemarle and in 2020 Jack created numerous public art pieces at the gas station, which was built in the late 1920s, including a giant Kool-Aid Man, a diamond-encrusted blue eyeball, a glitching TV screen and a mirror with the words “If This Is You Who Am I” above it.

Williams would like the property to be restored to what it would have looked like when the gas station first opened in terms of color scheme: white stucco with green roof tiles.

“Our goal is that, when we’re finished, that you will be looking at a brand new 1929 Sinclair gas station,” Williams told the council, noting only two or three similar Sinclair gas stations were built in North Carolina.

The plan is for the old Sinclair gas station to be restored to what it looked like when it opened almost 100 years ago. Photo courtesy of John Williams.

According to historian Lewis Bramlett, the gas station opened in May 1929 and was known as Sinclair Service Station No. 1. Several years later, the station was purchased by William Kennedy and was renamed Bill’s Service Station. The property again changed hands in 1956 when it became North Second Phillips 66.

Williams is not sure when the property, which is owned by David Scarboro, ceased being a gas station. He said it was recently utilized as a car wash and an upholstery shop.

Following the public hearing, Council unanimously approved the ordinance to rezone the property.

About Chris Miller

Chris Miller has been with the SNAP since January 2019. He is a graduate of NC State and received his Master's in Journalism from the University of Maryland. He previously wrote for the Capital News Service in Annapolis, where many of his stories on immigration and culture were published in national papers via the AP wire.

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