Paul Williams Tire & Auto hands off Lake Street site for housing project

Paul Williams Tire & Auto closed in August, thanking customers for 50 years of service.

Paul Williams Tire and Auto Service shut down Aug. 19 at 510 W. Lake St., and the developer who now owns the site is planning to build workforce rental housing.

Lupe Development Principal Steve Minn said the size of the project will depend on land acquisition and city approval to reroute an alley that empties mid-block onto Lake Street. A smaller project would include 100 units without retail, and a larger concept could include 130 units and retail space, he said. The height would reach six stories, and Minn said the proposed height may increase if the alley continues to split land he holds.

Minn said one-bedroom units of 700-750 square feet would likely lease for $763 per month, with two-bedroom units of 900-1,000 square feet at $1,150 per month. Minn said those rents would be half the going rates in the area. The project would seek tax credits for the construction of affordable housing.

Minn said the housing corridor along Lake Street and the Midtown Greenway has become expensive for renters.

“I think the Greenway is a very attractive amenity, but it has been extremely gentrified,” Minn said. “There are very few affordable options along Lake Street. … The area can tolerate more workforce housing.”

Parking would be enclosed and underground, he said, with 90-110 parking spaces and double the number of bike parking spaces. Minn said he’s not anxious to build retail if residents don’t have enough vehicle parking. Even if tenants take the bus to work, they still want to own a car, he said.

Minn said he currently owns the Paul Williams parking lot and building as well as a fenced concrete lot west of the alley. He said he’s worked to acquire the Paul Williams property for nearly eight years.

Another property owner holds the corner lot at Garfield & Lake and an adjacent lot fronting Garfield Avenue. That owner hasn’t indicated a willingness to sell, Minn said. The owner did not immediately respond for comment.

Paul Williams Tire announced its closure on Facebook:

“It is with a heavy heart that we are announcing that as of 6pm today we will be closing our doors for good. With that said, we would like to extend our deepest thanks and appreciation to all of our customers that we have served over the last 50yrs. It was an honor and a [privilege] to serve you!!” stated the post.

Lupe Development’s past projects include the Franklin Lofts at 111 E. Franklin Ave. and the Eat Street Flats at 15 E. Franklin Ave.

ESG is the project architect, and Minn said he doesn’t have solid design ideas to share yet. Amenities may include a rooftop deck.

Minn will present plans to the Whittier Alliance neighborhood group at a date to be determined. He said he’s looking for feedback on the proposal to create an L-shaped alley that would empty onto a side street instead of Lake Street.

Pending city approval and secured financing with tax credits, the project would likely break ground in early 2018, Minn said.