By David Armstrong
The last auto repair shop in Carmel-by-the-Sea – Carmel Garage, located at the northeast corner of Junipero and Fourth – will close at the end of this month, forcing residents and at least some visitors to leave the city to get their oil changed, tire-pressure checked and myriad other tune-ups and repairs.
Randy Ancelet, who has owned and operated Carmel Garage for 16 years, told This Just In that he has lost his lease, and is taking no new business in preparation for clearing out. Referring to the property owners, he said, “They just said they wanted to go in another direction. That’s all I was told.”
No word yet on the fate of the gas station at the site.
Much speculation has ensued of late about the Vista Lobos parking lot, which sits directly above the gas station and shop on the bluff looking out at Point Lobos and Carmel Bay. The city-owned facility has been mooted as the possible site of a new, 4-star hotel. One can imagine a three-story parking garage for guest parking going right there if a hotel is built at Vista Lobos.
Ancelet’s shop and the gas station sit directly across Fourth Avenue from the Carmel Police Department, where a $1.9 million expansion and update of the cop shop looms large on the city’s agenda. If the gas station and Carmel Garage site comes into play, too, it will be a very busy corner.
Ancelet’s planned departure comes less than a year after Erik Nystrom’s car repair shop on the corner of San Carlos and Fifth at a still-operating Shell gas station closed in a tenant-landlord tussle. That shop has not reopened inside or outside the city limits.
Ancelet told us he plans to stay in business, though he has no idea as yet where he can relocate.