For me, if I don't feel an initial attraction, then any future romance is unlikely.
However, I have had friends with whom I had the attraction but who were strictly friends for a long time. Then, it went further when we were both feeling a connection.
One never knows with these things - if you feel something for a gal, I do say you should go for it as soon as possible. A woman needs to know how a man feels for her - she may like you and you won't ever know it because you put the friends label on it and she is afraid to make the move herself.
I also have heard of stories where a couple was close friends for many, many years and then, one day seemingly out of the blue, their eyes turned toward each other and the rest was history.
However, I wouldn't go into any friendship with the hope to convince her of more. I am a big believer in being honest about one's intentions - if you like someone, don't beat about the bush.
Carl, I believe that Michelle's first few sentences make the point pretty succinctly.
If someone doesn't have any initial attraction to the other person, any future romance between the two is very unlikely. One would need at least some attraction to the other (it doesn't have to be merely physical; it might be something else about that other person like personality or you admire something about them) from the beginning in order for something to blossom between the two much later.
I'd have to say that there are three categories that guys get put into by the ladies: 1) the romantic prospect, 2) the friend but possible future romantic prospect, or 3) the "friends only" guy.
I'd agree with Michelle and others here that you should try to find out quickly where you stand by being honest with her about your thoughts and feelings. Otherwise you'll probably just be wasting the time you could be using to find "the one" by chasing someone who has you in their "friends only" category. And you deserve better than someone who doesn't truly care about you romantically. Love is only love when it's a two-way street.
I'd say to give a try and see how she feels before you waste time being this guy: www.youtube.com
Good luck and God bless!