Prince Edward’s Wawa project takes another step forward

Published 8:35 pm Monday, July 24, 2023

Work continues on the Wawa in Prince Edward County. You just can’t see it yet. That’s how both local officials and Wawa sum up what’s happening with the site. 

Back in March, the Board of Supervisors unanimously voted for Wawa to open a location at the corner of Commerce Road and Highway 15, or Farmville Road. The store itself would be on the west side of Farmville Road, right next to the intersection. Original talks expected construction to be at least starting on the project by now. Instead, most of the work happening is through paperwork. 

“Wawa is still in play,” said Robert Love, the county planning and zoning administrator, during a brief update at the July planning commission meeting. 

What needs to happen

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Before Wawa can get its building permit, the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) has to complete a full traffic impact analysis of the intersection which is taking place right now. They are studying the intersection at the Wawa site which includes Commerce Road, Highway 15 and Zion Hill Road.

For those familiar with the area, during the school year, traffic can back up during the morning hours as residents drop off their children. That’s what VDOT officials are looking at, the possible impact of the convenience store on this intersection. Do adjustments need to be made, before the store opens? Or will the store not make much of an impact at all? 

Once VDOT looks at the road they will report their findings to the county and developer within 30 days and the project will go from there. 

“This is the last step in the approval process other than the building permit itself,” said Love.

What’s next for Wawa?

Fortunately, the building permit is a fairly quick process as long as everything else is in order. On the local side, the process will only take a few weeks to get the permit and get construction going. Once they have the building permit, construction can start within 30 days if all goes well. According to Love, even if Wawa hasn’t acquired the land yet from the previous owner by the time they are ready for the building permit, as long as the owner’s name is on the permit they can keep going and even start construction.

North Chesterfield based Blackwood Capital is the company behind the Wawa request, proposing a 6,000-square foot store with eight gas pumps on the property.

Once construction is complete, the convenience store will be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week and is expected to employ around 50 employees to run the store and fuel station. The gas station will have eight gas pumps with the potential of adding charging stations for electric cars in the future, which was a requirement placed by the county planning commission. 

As for an opening date, that’s still in question. It typically takes six months to finish construction on a store, Wawa officials have stated at the planning commission meetings.