A nearly 60-year-old full-service Sacramento car wash will be demolished and replaced by an automated operation under plans submitted to the city.
A request for the demolition by the new owner of Gem Car Wash & Detail Center, located on Freeport Boulevard in South Land Park, was announced on Christmas Eve by city officials.
The planned conversion to an “express car wash consisting of a drive-thru car wash and self-serve vacuum stations” was proposed by new owner Alexander Kaplan, the founder of Eureka Dental Group, a dentistry organization with two locations in Sacramento County.
Kaplan also works as a dentist at one of the locations, according to Eureka’s website.
He could not be reached for comment because he is currently on vacation, the group said.
The application will be reviewed by multiple city departments and commissions before a final decision is made on the proposal, said Angel Anguiano, a city planner for the south area of Sacramento.
The application said a maximum of four employees would be working per shift at the new operation. Currently, at least 30 people are employed at the car wash, according to the former owner, Reed Hollingshead.
Gem Car Wash originally opened in 1962 and was purchased by Hollingshead’s father in 1974, according to its Facebook page.
“We continue to be an area favorite for our commitment to put our customers and our community first with our thorough work and friendly service,” the company says on its page.
Hollingshead said in a phone interview that the car wash was sold earlier year to Kaplan because his family felt that it was time to move on.
“I live in Boise, Idaho, so I had to travel back and forth to manage the car wash,” he said. “My kids didn’t want to take over managing the place, so you know, we felt it was time to sell.”
Hollingshead said his family’s decision also was influenced by the strength of the economy and rising minimum wage rates.
He said he had hoped the new owner would keep Gem operating as a full-service car wash, but said the city filing indicates that will not happen.