While 2499 Pacific Highway in the Little Italy neighborhood is currently an empty lot with a former car-rental office building, it could become a Valero service station. Civic San Diego has started the approval process for applicant Orams Enterprises, Inc., of Lakeside, with initial hearings set for January.
The application for Laurel Pacific Valero proposes a one-story gas station (two three-pump islands) with 3110 square feet of retail space and an attached 900-square-foot car wash, plus ten parking spots. A conditional use permit is required for the automobile service station and for off-site sale of alcoholic beverages (beer and wine).
The site is on the southeast corner of Pacific Highway and Laurel Street. The San Diego County assessor previously appraised the property at $1,425,000 (including $125,000 for the existing building on the site).
Marco Li Mandri, administrator of the Little Italy Association, said that “if they are proposing to sell alcohol out of their convenience store, we will oppose it.” Li Mandri added: “I am surprised that such land uses are allowable under the Downtown Specific Plan. We will be meeting as our community advisory board to make recommendations.”
Gary Smith, president of the San Diego Downtown Residents Group, has mixed feelings. Smith said with the Shell station across Laurel, competition would be good and “should stop any possible price gouging.” Plus, being “under airport approach, [it’s] not good for a lot of uses,” he said. But Smith sees “ground seepage always a future concern, even if the state thinks new regulations are effective.”
The Downtown Community Planning Council pre-design subcommittee will meet January 10 at 5:15 p.m. The next day the CivicSD real estate subcommittee will meet at 9 a.m. Both meetings will take place downtown at 401 B Street, suite 400.
According to its website, Valero Energy Corp., a Fortune 500 company based in San Antonio, is “the world's largest independent petroleum refiner” with “15 petroleum refineries with a combined throughput capacity of approximately 3 million barrels per day.” Valero does not own its retail locations, per a company response.