Former Marion Firestone Building Ready for Service

Preservation advocates in Marion are looking for a buyer who can repurpose a Firestone Auto Service Center built in 1936.

Marion Firestone building
Photo courtesy Nicholson Realty

High Style

The Art Moderne-style Firestone Auto Service Center at 625 S. Washington St in Marion has contributed to the economic vitality of downtown since its construction in 1936. The sleek glass-and-steel building was a dynamic representation of a burgeoning car economy as the city emerged from the dark days of the Depression. With five service bays and four Texaco pumps, it represented the latest in one-stop shopping for motorists.

More recently, the landmark property has become a symbol of decline, vacant with boarded windows, and environmental concerns jeopardizing potential new uses. Many thought the best solution would be demolishing the tired old building and scraping away the contaminated soil, but preservation non-profit Saving Our Stories (SOS) had a different vision.

Using grants from Indiana Landmarks’ Efroymson Family Endangered Places Fund and our Indiana Automotive affinity group, SOS conducted environmental and structural assessments at the property. Encouraged by the results, SOS bought the property and secured additional funds through the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) to conduct remediation at the site. The work wrapped up late last year, and the property now has a clean bill of health.

SOS is looking for a buyer who can repurpose the unique building. Though it cannot be used as another auto supply or repair shop—a condition of its sale from Firestone—the 9,000 square-foot structure is suited to any number of new uses. With a generous overhead canopy at the front, the building offers both interior & exterior square footage ideally suited for casual dining, a live music venue, or a farmer’s market. Covenants held by Indiana Landmarks require the building to retain its retro appearance.

The building is listed at $175,000. For more information, contact Craig Luthy, listing agent for Nicholson Realty, 765-517-1248.

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