Forget gas prices — Bay Terrace residents are worrying about where they’ll get gas after next month.
The only gas station in Bay Terrace, a Gulf and Dunkin’ Donuts combo outlet located near the Bay Terrace Shopping Center on Bell Boulevard, is set to close on August 28, after developer Cord Meyer decided not to renew a lease with the station’s owner.
While some will miss the station, other residents have complained for years about noise coming from the station, which operates around the clock, and young people gathering there after hours, according to Cord Meyer officials. Also, there was a gas leak at the site a few years ago, which caused the owner to shut down one of the station’s tanks. Cord Meyer is pulling the station because of those issues.
“Unlike a developer like Donald Trump, people know where we are,” said Cord Meyer Chief Operating Officer Anthony Colletti. “We are partners with the community. We don’t want to do anything that’s not popular [with them].”
Colletti said the company recognized that there are some people who haven’t had bad experiences with the station, but said it wouldn’t be possible to please everyone.
The gas station put up a sign yesterday informing residents of the closure. It has been a gas station for about 50 years — first owned by Exxon Mobil — and added the Dunkin’ Donuts about 15 years ago, the manager said.
Many neighborhood people, who regularly stop by in the morning for breakfast and coffee, were surprised and upset by the impending closure. They said they’re never had any problems with the store.
“I’m very disappointed that Cord Meyer didn’t negotiate with them,” said Lenard Schull, a Bay Terrace resident of nearly 40 years. “This place is going to be missed.”
The station’s staff of 15 people, who will lose their jobs, were brought to tears Monday when informed of the closure.
“I feel sad,” said Rowena Manahan, who emigrated from the Philippines and has worked at the station’s Dunkin’ Donuts since it opened. “This is my first job. This is my second home. The people here are like family.”
Manahan said she sent money over 15 years to her family in the Philippines to take care of her two children.
Cord Meyer has already signed a lease for a full service Dunkin’ Donuts to be placed in the mall on the second level near 26th Avenue. But it’s not certain whether the staff will move there, because the ownership will be different.
Residents against the station closure are convinced that the developer is courting a tenant for increased rent. Cord Meyer officials said they have not decided on a tenant yet.
The Gulf station will have to be remedied and inspected after it is shut down, which will take several months, so the lot will be vacant for a while.
The nearest gas station — ironically a similar Gulf and Dunkin’ Donuts mix — is in Bayside about 10 minutes away on 35th Avenue and Bell Boulevard, leaving residents with an option, but some still think it’s a big loss to the community.
“There is no doubt that a lot of people will be inconvenienced,” said Warren Schreiber, president of the Bay Terrace Community Alliance. “Many residents found it convenient to have a gas station right here in Bay Terrace.”