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George’s Gas & Grill nearing completion
Georges gas and grill
The finishing touches are being placed on the George's Gas & Grill at the corner of Central and Caswell avenues. - photo by Jeff Benziger

Work is nearing completion on the new George’s Gas & Grill store at the corner of Central Avenue and Caswell Avenue.

The 3,570-square-foot project was approved by the Ceres Planning Commission in January 2020.

The store replaces the former George’s Liquors building and an adjoining auto garage/tire shop which was the scene of the killing of Ceres Police Sgt. Howard Stevenson and wounding of Officer Sam Ryno on Jan. 9, 2005. In their place is a modern convenience store with an eight-pump fueling island.

In approving the Conditional Use Permit the commission granted a variance to modify a 10-foot rear yard setback requirement at the north and east boundaries to allow the building to be located five feet from those property lines. Variances are rarely granted by the city but since the owner was willing to dedicate 15 feet along Central Avenue so the city can reach its plan of having the street 90 feet instead of its current 60 feet, loss of the property meant less space for the development which needed to be set farther back into the northeast corner of the lot.

Old Georges Liquor
The former George's Liquors and nearby Jiro's Tire Shop, seen below after the Jan. 5, 2005 slaying of Sgt. Howard Stevenson and shooting of Officer Sam Ryno. Both buildings are gone and being replaced by George's Gas & Grill. - photo by JEFF BENZIGER/ Courier file photo