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Real Estate - Commercial

Wawa, Sheetz Look To Grow Along Carolina Beach Road

By Emma Dill, posted Oct 10, 2023
Planning is underway for another Wawa convenience store along Carolina Beach Road. (Image courtesy of Impeccable Development)
Two well-loved convenience store chains have plans to grow their local footprint with new stores along Carolina Beach Road.

Both Wawa and Sheetz have new locations in the works in the developing corridor. The chains, which are both Pennsylvania-based, confirmed plans to enter the Wilmington market in the last year – an announcement that was welcome news for fans of the brands.

Now, planning is underway for two new stores. A Sheetz is proposed at 6401 Carolina Beach Road and developers are pitching a Wawa about a mile south at 6800 Carolina Beach Road. Both proposals are set to go before New Hanover County leaders later this month for technical review.

A 6,100-square-foot Sheetz convenience store is proposed at the intersection of Carolina Beach and Golden roads. Site plans show a fuel canopy with eight fuel pumps, 42 parking spots and access driveways off of Carolina Beach and Golden roads.

The gas station and convenience store is expected to generate 7,880 total daily trips, including 561 trips during peak morning hours and 485 trips in peak afternoon hours, according to site plans. The more than 2-acre site is owned by Beacon Family Properties, LLC, according to property records. It’s currently used for car repair and sales and is zoned as a business district.

Plans for the area’s first Sheetz were submitted to Wilmington leaders in February for 2435 Independence Blvd., a lot near the corner of Independence and Shipyard boulevards. Those plans called for an approximately 6,100-square-foot store and a fuel canopy. 

Sheetz has about 30 locations in North Carolina, according to a store locator, with the nearest locations being outside of Raleigh. Nick Ruffner, a public relations manager for Sheetz, confirmed the company's plans for the site.

"Since the plans are only in the review process, it is too early to provide an accurate construction timeline," Ruffner wrote in an email to the Greater Wilmington Business Journal.

The company is "actively looking for opportunities to grow in the Wilmington market," according to Ruffner.

The Wawa proposed along Carolina Beach Road would be the first phase of a larger multifamily development. The 5,900-square-foot convenience store will sit alongside a fuel canopy with eight gas pumps and 50 parking spots.

Lori Bruce, a public relations manager with Wawa, confirmed the site is under contract, and the convenience store is moving through the approval process. A construction timeframe wasn't available, as of Tuesday.

The brand is expanding into the North Carolina market, Bruce wrote in an email to the Greater Wilmington Business Journal on Tuesday. The company is "actively looking for sites" in the state, including in the Wilmington market. 

"We look forward to serving the community with our quality fresh food and beverages and, as always, our deep commitment to the communities in which we operate," Bruce wrote.

Impeccable Development, a Florida-based company, is behind the site's broader development plans. The convenience store is part of the first phase for the larger 12-acre site that’s set to eventually house 128 new apartments.

The Wawa will be constructed alongside site improvements, including an access driveway from Carolina Beach Road, utility installations and other stormwater infrastructure, that aim to prepare the site for future development, according to site plans.

A rezoning for Wilmington’s first Wawa along S. 17th St. prompted pushback earlier this year after residents and local leaders learned the chain’s plans would displace several established restaurants and other businesses. After much debate, the rezoning for 1608 Wellington Ave. was approved by the Wilmington City Council in May. 

Sheetz and Wawa are among several new convenience store chains breaking into the Wilmington market. Others include 7-Eleven, Royal Farms and Refuel, which announced its first store inside Wilmington’s city limits on Monday.
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