New York Retailer on the "Wright" Track

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New York Retailer on the "Wright" Track

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Sometime this summer, most likely by early July, local businessman James Sandoro will hold a groundbreaking on his latest project: a Frank Lloyd Wright-designed, but never built gas station.

Sandoro, a founder of the Buffalo Transportation/Pierce-Arrow Museum, said the two-story, 1,200-square-foot station is slated to go next door to the museum. At this point, all Sandoro is waiting for is a final sign-off from the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation on the project. The foundation is reviewing the proposal, according to Buffalo (N.Y.) Business First.

Wright designed the station for the former Tydol Oil Co. in 1927. But due to a number of largely personal reasons, Wright never completed the project.

The plans remained in dry dock for decades until Sandoro revived them a few years back as a companion piece to the museum he founded.

Sandoro has promised it will be built exactly to Wright's blueprints and specifications. "It wasn't a generalized station," he said. "It was very Buffalo specific."

The station has certain very unique features including two working fireplaces and a second-story observation deck. It also had the first set of gravity-fed gas tanks.

And, for its time, it had a very "unique" feature -- separate men's and women's restrooms. Up until that time, the few gas stations that were around only had one restroom that was commonly used by the mechanics and not the customers.

Only one other Wright-designed gas station still exists (pictured) and that is a vacant operation in Cloquet, Minn., near Duluth.

The Buffalo station will also feature dual 45-foot-tall poles, both of which are copper-clad and lit externally and internally. Sandoro is even putting authentic Tydol Oil signs on the poles.

"I want to attract people off the [New York State] Thruway, captivate them with what we've got here and send them on the road with a feeling of impression about everything we've got to offer in Buffalo," Sandoro said.

The $600,000 project is being financed through donated services, the report said.