500 Stocking NW today beautifully redesigned for Keen Studio.  Photo by Pam VanderPloeg, copyright 2016, West Michigan Modern

500 Stocking NW today beautifully redesigned for Keen Studio.  Photo by Pam VanderPloeg, copyright 2016, West Michigan Modern

500 Stocking NW is the new home of Keen Studio, a creative design studio http://keen-studio.com/ 

 Photo Courtesy of Grand Rapids City Archive

Photo Courtesy of Grand Rapids City Archive

In 1950, a Sunoco Service Station opened at 500 Stocking NW.   The building was constructed with cement block walls and metal tile on the front and two sides.  There was no basement and the building had concrete floors and fluorescent light fixtures.  The roof was tar and gravel.  There was one island outfitted with two gas pumps.  

According to a Grand Rapids Press M-Live article about the new Keen Studio, Adam Mikrut, one of the two co-owners of 500 Stocking reported that once they decided to purchase the building, repairs that were necessary included replacing "the roof of the old auto garage, as well as all of the boarded-up windows, degraded overhead door fixtures, and electrical infrastructure ." Add to all this critical infrastructure work the elements of style and functionality and then you have Keen Studio.  

On August 18, 2016, 66 years later, they held their grand opening in the transformed space.    And if you think this repurposing of defunct service stations is an anomaly, then you will want to know that it is jut a part of an ongoing trend.   In this collection of commercial building stories, there are three renovated service stations featured.  The other two are restaurants.  According to an article about the renovation, "the city's economic development department updated its count of vacant gas stations throughout downtown Grand Rapids, reporting that of the 28 total recorded in 2010, only 12 remain vacant or unused today."  Link here to read more:

http://www.rapidgrowthmedia.com/features/042116-how-Grand-Rapids-gas-stations-got-their-groove-back.aspx