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Historic gas station renovations down to short strokes
Renovations on the old gas station on Green Street could be complete in the next month or two said the owner of the building, Andrew Oxley.

Green Street’s old gas station, Lee’s Pure Oil Service Station, is approaching the finishing touches of its renovation, the Oxley Group consulting firm said Friday.

Andrew Oxley, president and founder of the firm, said it is down to “the short strokes” in the renovations of the building, hoping to have it finished in the next four to six weeks.

“The brick is actually sitting on the site getting ready to be put on,” Oxley said. “The inside of the building has been completely renovated.”

The Oxley Group, which conducts training and consulting for clients on topics such as hiring, leadership, communication, customer service and productivity, has had offices on Green Street for the past 20 years, but this is the first building it has owned. It purchased the building last year in hopes of restoring the decayed space.

They plan to use the building as a corporate headquarters and expect to be able to occupy it by the end of August, Oxley said.

The portico has been stripped down, and Oxley said he looks forward to the installation of old-style carriage doors in the front with a matching front door.

“There was a lot of stuff we had to tear out because it was rotten underneath the facade there and different places,” he said.

Lighting and other finishing work is left on the agenda before the building renovations are completed.

“We still need the windows and doors put in before the brick can be put on the outside. On the inside, the sheetrock is done, so now it’s left to painting trim and carpet flooring,” Oxley said.

The old gas station was owned by the Pure Oil Co. and run by M.L. Lee, who operated the business for about 30 years. It became a landmark for Gainesville natives.

“It was kind of a community location,” said Lee’s daughter Violet Waldrip in an interview with The Times in August. “Customers would come and get gas and hang out for 30 minutes or so.”

Lee was dedicated to his business and would pump gas, wash cars, service vehicles and install tire chains on customers’ cars when it snowed.

It is unclear when the station was built, but family members and employees of Lee’s said it went at least as far back as the early 1950s and estimated it had been built in the 1940s.

The location was bought in the 1970s by the Home Federal Savings & Loan Association, which later merged with SunTrust, which rented it out as office space for a few years. For the past decade or more, it has been used for storage and additional parking for the SunTrust location across the street.