Fresh off their last-ditch makeover of the Highland Park Starbucks—a botched conversion of an old burger stand—the corporate coffee giant appears to have done a spot-on job with this conversion of the 80-year-old Gilmore gas station at Highland Avenue and Willoughby, which was looking its age and then some last summer, before the remodel. At that time, Starbucks was just beginning the process of filing for permits to restore the original wood and aluminum exterior and transform the ramshackle station into a coffee shop with cozy indoor seating (it's about 800 square feet), a sweet patio area, and a drive-through.
The Highland Gilmore station was designed by an engineer named RJ Kadow and, according to I Am Not a Stalker, was "one of the first Gilmore stations to be constructed and is now, sadly, one of the last remaining of its kind." It was vacated in the early '90s and became a city historic landmark in 1992. It was dressed up to play the colorful gas station in 1991's LA Story, but otherwise was left to fall into disrepair.
When Starbucks revealed its plans last year, some locals pooh-poohed the idea of circling the outdoor patio with exhaust-spewing cars waiting for their scones to be warmed; others were just glad to have the eyesore revitalized and repurposed into something more useful than a sad abandoned lot. There should be eight parking spots and more landscaping on the way before the shop opens; last we heard, the old gas station was expected to open to customers in mid-2015, just in time for those summer Frappucino runs.
· 1935 Gas Station Becoming Drive-Through Starbucks in H'Wood [Curbed LA]
· The New Look at the Most Depressing Starbucks in America [Curbed LA]