Proposed opening of Wawa garners Newark residents’ concern
Published: Tuesday, February 12, 2013
Updated: Monday, April 22, 2013 21:04
Wawa officials proposed the opening of a new location in the Market Shopping Center at the corner of South Main Street and Apple Road, according to Michael Fortner, 44, the Newark Development Supervisor.
The potential opening of a new Wawa raised concern from residents and generated excitement from students at a city council meeting took place Wednesday.
The shopping center’s representative Larry Tarabicos, 52, said at the meeting the shopping center would undergo several changes to modernize the property which would include constructing the new Wawa.
“The plan is to open the Wawa as well as revitalize the entire shopping center by tearing down unused buildings and remodel the remaining ones,” Tarabicos said.
Tarabicos said there has been no official application filed with the city and changes could be made to the plans. Before the center considers applying for the Wawa construction, they will hold another meeting with residents to address the concerns from the previous meeting and hopefully gain the support of city’s citizens, Tarabicos said.
This store is the first of its kind in Delaware because it will be pedestrian oriented and have a significantly smaller building, Susan Bratton, 48, a Wawa representative, said. There will be six gas kiosks and two pumps to each kiosk, she said.
“We are trying to complement the architecture already existing in Newark,” Bratton said.
Councilman Doug Tuttle, 62, said he understands both the concerns of the residents and the motivation of the Wawa officials to expand in Newark.
“The traffic is hard over there,” Tuttle said. “With the curve on Apple Road it could be dangerous even with some local knowledge. I know people who would applaud it and some people who don’t think it fits the character of the city.”
One concern for residents at the meeting was the potential closing of local businesses since Wawa offers gas, coffee and food.
Saxby’s manager Kate Chiquoine, 25, said she is not concerned for her business if a new Wawa were to open on South Main Street.
“I don’t think our business will suffer,” Chiquoine said. “We are more specialized. People would have to go out of their way to go to Wawa. We have the luxury of being right here.”
Junior Devon Jones said the new Wawa would probably attract students who live on west campus.
“I think people would be more drawn into the area and it would benefit other businesses nearby, but I don’t think students on Main Street would go because they have way more options close by,” Jones said.
Junior Adam Remshifski said he believes students who live closer to the location of the potential Wawa opening like Studio Green and Rittenhouse are the target customers for this new business and would take advantage of it.
He said he thinks the new location could also bring more attention to that side of town.
“For me it’s the best convenience store and it would get more people to live there and bring in more businesses,” Remshifski said. “I think there should be one because if you want a sub or something from Wawa right now you have to drive. I think if there was one there, it would help students.”