Community response to GV purchase of Admiral station mixed

GV Board of Trustees approves $1M purchase of Fulton Street gas station, completes 30-acre assemblage of land

By Samantha Butcher | 5/7/12 1:21am


GVL / Eric Coulter
The Admiral Tobacco gas station has been purchased by Grand Valley State University. The gas station is located in front of the new Business School.

by Eric Coulter / Lanthorn

The Grand Valley State University Board of Trustees approved the purchase of the Admiral gas station on Fulton Street on April 27, but in the ensuing week, the community reaction to the purchase has been lukewarm.

The purchase of the station, which was a convenient spot for
students, staff and faculty to gas up or grab snacks and cigarettes, was one of only a handful of gas stations downtown. Now, only three gas stations remain — a Mobil station on Market Avenue SW, a Shell station at the corner of Wealthy and Division
and a Marathon station at the corner of College and Michigan — prompting some residents’ concerns about being able to fuel their

Some students, particularly those who smoke, were also disappointed
by the decision.

University Counsel Tom Butcher said the quarter-acre piece of property was targeted for purchase because of its proximity to the university and the new Seidman College of Business, which is currently under construction.

The property gives GVSU an “assemblage” of land bounded by
the Grand River, Winter Avenue, Fulton Street and Butterworth Avenue.

“This is a positive move for the university, but also for the city,”
Butcher said in a statement. “It’s part of Grand Valley’s initiative
to improve the west side of the city, and the best use of this
property is for educational purposes.”

While some mourned the station’s closing on social media and
in the comment sections of news sites, others agreed that removing
the station was better for the city. “If you are going to get murdered downtown GR, this is the place,”tweeted GVSU senior Aaron
Brandt last week. “Good for GVSU to snag it and tear it down.”

The Board of Trustees approved the purchase for $1 million, five times the property’s estimated value of $194,800, according to Grand Rapids city records. Butcher said the premium price was justified because it was the final piece to complete the university’s land parcel downtown.

According to city records, the Admiral station was purchased from Speedway American for $123,714 in 2000.

Admiral Petroleum Co. of Coopersville, Mich., which owns the property, will be responsible for removing the underground storage tanks, canopy and building from the property.

The Board of Trustees meets four times each year. Their next meeting will be July 13 at 11 a.m. in the Kirkhof Center, Room 2204. For more information, visit

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