OWOSSO — A new automatic car wash is going up at 1107 W. Main St., in the vacant lot just south of the Shell gas station located at M-21 and Chipman Street in Westown.
The Owosso Planning Commission recently approved the site plan for the car wash, subject to a few minor changes, including the addition of eight parking spots. The car wash will become part of the Shell/Hometown Markets complex.
The building project is expected to begin sometime this spring, said David Wakeland, owner of Wakeland Oil Company, which owns the Shell complex, along with the Shell/Hometown Markets sites at 109 Corunna Ave. in Owosso and 1788 E. Main St. in Caledonia Township.
The Westown Shell is the only one out of the three gas station complexes that does not feature a car wash, although it used to have one. About five years ago, Wakeland tore down the old car wash, an antiquated self-serve facility.
“It had old equipment from the 1960s,” Wakeland said. “It wasn’t worth the money to keep it operating or to renovate it.”
In the past year or so, he said he couldn’t help but notice how long the lines could get at the Corunna Avenue and East Main Street car washes, especially on sunny days. Sometimes the wait for a wash is over an hour, he said.
Wakeland believes his customers on the west side will appreciate a third car wash, which will be constructed on the same site as the old one he had to demolish.
The 1,400-square-foot car wash building will be situated parallel to Main Street at the extreme southern end of the lot, Wakeland said, enabling commercial vehicles to access it easily.
He said it will probably take longer to develop the land below the building than the building itself. In addition to installing a third catch basin, the property will require extensive utility hookups and water lines.
Also, concrete pads featuring radiant heat to keep them clear of snow and ice will be built at the entrance and exit of the car wash. Trench drains will go up near the concrete pads, giving the water somewhere to go.
Even given the complicated ground-level work ahead, Wakeland said he expects the building project — which includes adding fencing along the rear of the property to add a buffer for the neighbors — to be completed sometime this summer.
The property is already zoned B-3, central business, which allows the car wash as a permitted land use.
In addition to the three gas station complexes in Shiawassee County, Wakeland Oil Company owns similiar sites in Brighton and downtown Stockbridge.