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Going to Shell in a Handbasket?

So maybe they're tearing down the Shell station in Preston Royal after all?

So, about that Shell service station in Preston Royal. Yesterday I was told that the longtime full-service fixture in the neighborhood wasn't being demolished, despite its demolishy appearance, but that it was being refitted with new underground gas tanks in the next few weeks. Which squared with what half a dozen city officials -- including Leif Sandberg in the city's building inspection division and Karl Zavitkovsky, director of the Office of Economic Development -- told me when none of them could find any documents related to demolition or renovation for the property. Far as they could tell from their extensive digging, nothing was up at 10763 Preston Road.

Some of you didn't buy it. Figured, yeah, it's gonna become a bank soon enough. Everything else in this town does, especially on a busy corner like Preston Road and Royal Lane. You smart, Friends, real smart. Just maybe.

Because, see, Shell finally got back to me at around 11 this morning -- only 24 hours after I first called Houston HQ.

And I'm still not sure what this means, but Karyn Leonardi-Cattolica in Shell's External Affairs Office now says the property's owned by Motiva Enterprises -- which is a half-Shell-owned, half-Saudi Refining, Inc.-controlled company based out of Houston. (Same media contact numbers as Shell, matter of fact.) And Leonardi-Cattolica's info contradicts yesterday's info concerning the property's fate -- or does it?

She writes in a very brief e-mail: "After evaluating the site, it was determined that selling the property would be in the company’s best business interest." And that's all she wrote. Literally.

She doesn't say to whom the property's been sold or whether it will remain a gas station. Many messages have been left; not holding breath. At least I know I ain't the only one interested in the station. --Robert Wilonsky

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