Historical commission approves chain restaurant for Fourth Avenue

Published: Apr. 28, 2016 at 7:23 PM MST|Updated: Apr. 28, 2016 at 8:58 PM MST
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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Concerns about a chain restaurant coming to Fourth Avenue have been eased enough that the restaurant got a unanimous thumbs up from the Tucson/Pima County Historical Commission.

A restaurant chain from Florida called Jimmy Hula's will open a fish and taco restaurant in an old, iconic 1950s gas station near East University Boulevard.

The historic commission has been trying to make sure the 1950s gas station architecture in Tucson is preserved. 

"It has a lot of history," architect David Blair said. "We'll do what we can do to keep the building looking like it did in the past."

The restaurant chain has a tropical vibe and there has been concern among the nearby business owners and commission members that it may not fit with the eclectic style of Fourth Avenue. 

Blair answered questions and assured the commission members that the restaurant chain, which has local owners, will maintain the integrity of the area. Preserving the building appeared to be top on the list.

"We're doing the best we can to keep the existing structure as is," Blair said.

There is a movement across the country to preserve old gas stations which represent a bygone era.

Many of them are eligible for the Registry of Historic Places although the one on Fourth Avenue has not applied for the status.

"But we want to make sure if and when it does, it still conforms," one member said.

The buildings generally must be 50 years or older to be eligible and many in the Tucson area are.

The restaurant hopes to be open by the time students arrive for the fall semester.

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