A newly built Chevron gas station in North Hollywood, California is one of three state-of-the-art gas stations having a new vaulted concrete system that ensures zero ground contamination from the gas station’s fueling system.
The gas station is owned by Bijan “Ben” Pouldar who emigrated with his family from Iran to the United States many years ago. In 1979, after earning his B.S and M.A. in Civil Engineering from the University of Missouri, he and has family bought a gas station in the San Fernando Valley – this would be the first of 13 gas stations he and his family would buy over the next 34 years, some of them using the SBA’s 504 Loan Program.
The Chevron gas station provides 15 jobs and hosts a bustling sit-down Mexican food restaurant, a lavish convenience store and a car wash that can handle 60 cars per hour. The project came together with the backing of Regina Grant Peterson, executive director of Advantage CDC, a non-profit SBA certified development company that provides low-cost, long-term SBA loans to small businesses in Southern California, and Kimberly Thornberry a vice president and team leader with Popular Community Bank (formerly Banco Popular and also an SBA lending partner).
Initially, Pouldar purchased the property in 2004 through an SBA 504 Loan, which helps small business owners purchase owner-occupied commercial real estate and equipment while retaining working capital. The 504 Loan Program provides buffers to the parties involved such as a lower down payment for the borrower than a conventional bank loan and it reduces the risk for lenders through a shared financing structure.
In 2010, a second SBA 504 Loan was used to demolish the existing gas station structure, perform environmental remediation to the site and build the modern 4,226 square foot Chevron facility that opened in December 2011. Besides the 15 local jobs created the other highlight of the facility is the new vaulted concrete system, which enables the caretakers to safely walk underneath all the fueling tanks and pipes to check and confirm the system is leak free and in the unlikely case of a leak will trap and contain the leak in the vault. This innovative system also allows Pouldar to save money by eschewing the older and less environmentally friendly in-ground storage tank system and its Under Ground Storage Tank Maintenance Fee.
Pouldar said the neighborhood needs business owners and residents alike to take pride in ownership. He hopes that the modernized station will attract new customers as well as increase the property values of nearby residents. With Pouldar’s community friendly mind-set and desire to keep California clean, it’s now wonder he has helped to fuel the growth of his small business for thirty plus years.