Real Estate - Commercial

Wawa Gas Station Proposal On City Planning Agenda

By Staff Reports, posted Mar 30, 2023
A Wawa gas station and store could be coming to South 17th Street in Wilmington. (Rendering courtesy of the city of Wilmington)
Gas station chains new to Wilmington are scoping out spots in the local market. 

On the Wilmington Planning Commission's agenda next week is an item related to a potential Wawa Inc. in midtown.

Wawa, a chain of convenience stores and gas stations along the East Coast, is fueling up to break into the North Carolina market, with Wilmington on its radar. According to a conditional district rezoning request the planning panel will consider Wednesday, the Wawa would be built on parcels that total 2.44 acres in the 2400 block of South 17th Street and at 1608 Wellington Ave.

Birmingham, Alabama-based real estate development firm Capital Growth Buchalter is the applicant for the request, which would change the zoning designations of the properties from office and institutional district and community business to community business conditional district (CBCD) for general retail with associated fuel pumps and a restaurant. 

CGB bought the property previously occupied by Pizza Hut at 2402 S. 17th St. in August 2022 for $1.2 million, according to state and local records.

"Four existing buildings will be demolished and replaced with one building and associated gas pump canopy. Where there are currently two entrances and exits onto 17th Street, there would be only one, reducing the number of places traffic slows to turn, or enters 17th Street," the application states. "Similarly, there are currently two entrances and exits onto Wellington Avenue, which would also be reduced to one. The proposed property is to be operated by Wawa, which offers fresh food and snacks, as well as coffee and other beverages, giving area residents and workers another option."

The zoning for the properties has not changed since the late 1990s, despite the continued development and change along 17th Street near and around the hospital, the applicant wrote.

The proposal would "revitalize properties with older, poorly maintained buildings and is an infill development making use of semi-urban redevelopment. The proposed redevelopment will also create 50-70 skilled construction jobs (during construction) and approximately 50 new, permanent jobs."

The planning commission is scheduled to meet at 6 p.m. Wednesday, April 5, in Wilmington City Council Chambers, City Hall, 102 N. Third St.

Plans for a Sheetz, a gas station and store chain that competes with Wawa, are under review by the city with a Technical Review Committee discussion about them set to take place April 6, according to the city's project tracking website. Sheetz is also new to the market, and this one is proposed for 2345 Independence Blvd., less than two miles away from the Wawa proposed site.
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