The Oak Forest Corner Demobilizing for Berryhill

A reader sends in this photo of the Oak Forest Mobil at Ella and 1201 W. 43rd St., the death sentence of which was published in the Daily Demolition Report last Thursday. Once the station’s torn down, reports the reader, a Berryhill Baja Grill will be built on this corner; that’s according to a post the reader saw on the members-only Oak Forest Homeowners Association Facebook page. A bit more evidence: A since-deleted brief that appeared in the Houston Chronicle in March 2012 notes that Berryhill had been granted a sales permit at this address.

Photo: Swamplot inbox

18 Comment

  • Would love to have seen the service station re-purposed for the Berryhill.

  • Limestone, yeah. The Berryhill Baja Drive-Thru seems like a wasted opportunity. Ah well.

  • Turn a gas station into a restaurant? No thanks. Too many toxic chemicals still floating around.

  • How about something besides another bland chain franchise.

  • @Ross “Turn a gas station into a restaurant? No thanks. Too many toxic chemicals still floating around.”

    Hmmmm. About a 1/4 mile away there is a very popular hangout called The Petrol Station…in a repurposed former filling station.

  • Yeah, calling BITCH. Where are you, BITCH?

  • @ Ross and Limestone. This raises an interesting point. Does any one know if there are city requirement to sample and clean up the soil around old service station storage tanks? I am in the oil field and we have very strict requirements to sample and dispose of any contaminated soil.

  • Can’t stand their tamales.

  • Dont they need to do some sort of remediation for those UST?

  • 52 years ago I used to pick up my papers for my Houston Press route and roll those tiny papers right underneath where that sign is you can see on the left middle of the picture. I would then go down Wakefield and throw my route and one of my customers was a Sinclair Oil gas station which is now known as “The Petrol Station”. The old Mobil was owned by Allie Whiddon, a neighborhood institution. It was an Humble Oil then.

  • What a waste of a good corner lot. Berryhill isn’t good.

  • At least we will still be able to go to that corner to get gas.

  • @Rex: I am willing to bet a hundred baja fish tacos that the Berryhill owners conducted Phase I and Phase II Environmental Site Assessments which would have included soil and groundwater testing for petroleum hydrocarbons prior to the purchase. In this day and age, you would be INSANE if you didn’t test for leakage from the tanks – not to mention decades of drips and spills from the filling station and maintenance shop (if they had one). It’s guaranteed that there is some contamination there, because ALL TANKS LEAK. It’s just a question of how much and whether it is “actionable”, meaning at a high enough level which would require clean-up or at the very least, “monitored natural attention” and an impermeable site cap that would prevent a human exposure pathway. You will know if there is contamination there if 1) you see an enormous pit dug out after they remove the tanks where they are removing grossly contaminated soil, and/or 2) groundwater sampling/treatment wells around the perimeter of the property or even into the neighboring properties. All of that said, if the contamination isn’t that bad, you can often negotiate a lower purchase price than market value to take on the liability associated with the it, getting a good bargain to covert them to something else…but you will be on the hook for future clean-up or claims for bodily injury or property damage for the rest of your days once you insert yourself into the chain of title…unless you conveniently go bankrupt or vanish without a trace to a Carribbean isle.

    PS All of the above applies to dry cleaners too – think 13 degrees C in Midtown.

  • dang, “monitored natural attenuation”

  • @Cameron, I think there’s an EPA requirement to dig up the tanks and remediate the soil any time a gas station closes. I’ve seen a few former station locations that had signs indicating the site was not to be used for fuel sales as a deed restriction.

    From my viewpoint, it’s one thing to tear down a station, remediate any contamination, and build something new, as opposed to just renovating a station and turn it into a restaurant. Too much potential for unknown spills, etc. in a repurposed building.

  • Yes, environmental regulations state that you must remove any out of service tanks, and in order to get a “clean closure” letter from the TCEQ you must test the soil and groundwater and remediate accordingly.

  • @JerseyGirl Thanks. I definitely like my tacos ‘al carbon’ not ‘con carbon’!

  • You don’t go to Berryhill’s for their tamales, you go for the fish tacos (or in my case, the shrimp tacos)… It was already a pile of rubble this morning…