One of the key elements of Kimco’s redevelopment proposal for the Wilde Lake Village Center is the elimination of the gas station. This particular gas station holds the distinction of being Columbia’s first gas station. It was built back in the sixties when gas stations were known as service stations.
Today gas stations are more about selling milk and cigarettes than they are about servicing cars. Gas is more often than not seen as a loss leader to draw people into a convenience store.
In Columbia’s original concept, a gas station with service bays in a village center was seen as important as the village center grocery store. Every village center included one and yet I haven’t heard anyone, with the notable exception of the station operator, complain about this change in village center concept. Even when a developer proposed putting an office building on the former gas station site in the Oakland Mills Village Center, nobody insisted he include a gas station in the design.