Expanded Wawa proposed at current Towamencin Lukoil
By Dan Sokil, The Reporter Online | Wednesday, July 26, 2017
TOWAMENCIN >> The Lukoil fuel station and Wawa convenience store at the corner of Sumneytown Pike and Forty Foot Road could be combined — into a new, enlarged Wawa fuel station and convenience store.
“We would propose to consolidate those two lots, demolish the existing Wawa, as well as the existing Lukoil station, and replace that with a brand-new Wawa convenience store, with gas,” said Jason Lang, senior director of real estate for the developer, the Verrichia Co.
Lang presented an early concept plan to Towamencin’s supervisors Wednesday night on behalf of Verrichia, a real estate development and management company based in Doylestown that has done similar projects throughout southeastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
The early concept, Lang told the supervisors, would be to combine the Lukoil and Wawa properties into one larger parcel of 92,000 square feet, or just shy of 2 acres. Within that lot, Verrichia would build a 5,500-square-foot Wawa convenience store to be accompanied by six fuel stations, and the fuel use would require a zoning change from the township.
“It would just be, at this point, to allow the sale of gasoline as an accessory use to a convenience store, which is more of a model that a lot of municipalities here in Pennsylvania are moving toward,” Lang said. “It just falls within that definition, because there’s really no maintenance of repair of cars that would really fall under the township’s current ‘service station’ definition.”
The two properties are located in the township’s village commercial zoning district, and a similar zoning amendment was approved last year for the nearby C-commercial zoning district, according to supervisors Chairman Chuck Wilson.
Lang showed several possible concepts to the board Wednesday night, with the standard Wawa building coated in red brick, darker red brick, or a lighter yellow color. Several supervisors said they preferred the darker brick because it would match surrounding buildings already in the overlay, including the Walgreens pharmacy just next door.
Two possible concepts were also shown for the canopy covering the fuel pumps, one with a flat roof and another with a pointed peak, and supervisors said they preferred the latter. Wilson suggested the developer come back with a more fully engineered plan for a formal review, to avoid the series of revisions that were needed for the Royal Farms plans to meet setback requirements last year.
“We did a similar (zoning) amendment for the Royal Farms, and after we did the zoning amendment, it turned out to be quite a tight squeeze that needed significant relief,” Wilson said. “I don’t think we want to get back in that situation again, so at least from my point of view, it’s important that we understand this is engineered to fit on the site.”
Supervisor David Mosesso asked if the Wawa upgrade was related at all to the planned new Wawa proposed for the corner of Sumneytown Pike and West Point Pike in Upper Gwynedd, which that township’s commissioners voted Monday to reject.
“Is it your intention that you’d like to have this facility up here, and the one down there, if you get them both? Is it a foot race?” Mosesso said.
Lang said his company was developing the new project on behalf of Wawa to replace an existing store, adding, “I don’t believe they’re tied together by any means.”
Mosesso asked if any signs were included in the concept, and Lang said freestanding monument signs would likely be requested for both the Sumneytown Pike and Forty Foot Road frontages, with more details to be presented as plans are finalized.
Supervisor Dan Littley asked if any adjacent properties were also included in the plans, and Lang said they were not, but the concept currently includes a secondary retail building that would be built behind the Wawa, but no tenant has been found yet.
“We don’t have anybody lined up to lease that currently. If you are amenable to the zoning change, and we get our approvals and move forward, we’d hopefully have a tenant lined up by then,” Lang said.
Supervisor Laura Smith said she preferred the dark brick and the A-frame canopy, and encouraged the Wawa developers to keep in mind that the Wawa would be one of the first things drivers see as they enter Towamencin.
“Bring it on. This is our gateway, this is our ‘Main and Broad.’ Make it beautiful,” she said.