UPDATED — A blighted area of East 21st Street is about to experience a revival.
“We’re going in there and building a new gas station,” Amir Etezazi says.
His company, Etezazi Industries, a division of Etezazi Corp., is building a new Cenex gas station and an expanded convenience store in the former Amoco station and market just east of the Canal Route.
“It’s definitely going to enhance the area,” says City Council member Lavonta Williams. “It is going to create another opportunity for people to create pride.”
The station has been abandoned for about a decade.
“Anytime you have at least one … blighted building where something is not kept up, you’re going to invite illegal dumping,” Williams says. “You’re going to invite illegal activity.”
Etezazi, who bought the building in December, says there have been “a lot of challenges” so far.
“It was vandalized pretty badly,” he says. “Constantly, there is some sort of vandalism.”
People dumping trash on the property is a big issue, he and Williams say.
Williams says Etezazi finally put a Dumpster on the property to give people an option for their trash. “Don’t just drop it on the lot.”
Etezazi says the Dumpster actually is there for his use, and he wants people to stop seeing the area as a place for trash.
So far, most of the work Etezazi has done has been on the inside of the 7,500-square-foot building, which he’s divided for various uses.
Etezazi plans a full kitchen with fresh and prepared foods.
Williams says it’s “just another opportunity for people to have something accessible to purchase items,” especially for those who may be walking to the store.
She says Etezazi’s store will have fresh produce and other items the Dollar General across the street might not have.
“I’m really looking forward to that,” Williams says.
Etezazi plans to lease space on the east end of the building for a liquor store.
“We had to go back and forth a little bit with the city,” he says.
He’s hoping the Cenex will open in early October, but he says it more likely will be the middle of the month.
Etezazi also is hoping there will be a payoff for his hard work and frustrations.
“We’re investing a lot of money in here.”