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Monday, July 24, 2017

Wawa Seeks to Open in Newark


NEWARK, N.J.: It's true: Wawa is planning to come to New Jersey's largest city.

Over the past decade, the Southeastern Pennsylvania and South Jersey convenience store institution has been expanding outside of its original territory into North Jersey, and has opened several locations, from Maplewood in Essex County to Kearny in Hudson County. Now, a Wawa store is proposed for 1300-1346 McCarter Highway/Route 21 at the edge of the Lower Broadway neighborhood in Newark’s Central Ward, which is currently a large vacant lot along a largely commercial and industrial corridor. Carmelo Garcia, the Executive Vice President and Chief Real Estate Officer of the Newark Community Economic Development Corporation, confirmed the news to Essex County Place.
Plans for the current project have not yet been approved, and it is not clear if this location will include a gas station. However, a community meeting regarding the plans is scheduled for this Wednesday, July 26th from 6:00pm to 8:00pm at the Clinton Memorial AME Zion Church, located a few blocks away from the site at 151 Broadway. Wawa representatives and Central Ward Councilwoman Gayle Chaneyfield Jenkins are slated to be present, according to an event flyer.
Some residents are not in favor of having Wawa come to their part of the city.
“We do not want the Wawa,” said Lisa Gray of the Broad Street Neighborhood Association, telling Essex County Place that her neighborhood has seen “drug selling and prostitution for many years,” and that “we are afraid a 24-hour business of this nature would bring back this activity.”
In lieu of a Wawa, Gray stated that "residents of the neighborhood were hoping to get a family entertainment cebter there," such as a bowling alley, a Chuck E. Cheese's, a skating rink, or a cinema.
"We do not have a single park, playground, or recreation facility in the neighborhood," she explained.
Back in April, Essex County Place reached out to Wawa regarding whether the company would be opening a Newark location, but spokesperson Colleen Labik stated that “I don’t have any news to share…at this time.” We asked Wawa for comment regarding the latest development and will update this article should additional details be revealed.
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