Why did the Wawa project take so long?

Published 8:28 am Wednesday, December 27, 2023

One of the questions about the Wawa project has been why it took so long to move forward. The answer doesn’t actually involve construction of the store itself, but what was added later on. At the beginning, when Prince Edward supervisors approved the project, the plans just included the Wawa store. But then, developers added a car wash to the property, which caused things to go back to zero. 

“When they found a car wash company to come here, that triggered the special use permit, which also triggered some stormwater redesign,” said Prince Edward Planner Robert Love. “We had to (also) do an amendment on disturbed acreage.” 

Also, the Virginia Department of Transportation required a revised traffic impact study, once the car wash was added. All of that combined added several months to a project that otherwise would have been starting construction before now. 

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“Those things slowed this project down, but we’re getting two projects now,” Love told the planning commission during their Tuesday, Dec.19 meeting. “They can turn dirt now (on both the Wawa and car wash).” 

The developers held preconstruction meetings this past week, to sketch out a work schedule and how to move forward. Both of the sites will be going up at the same time. The only question left is when the store, planned at the corner of Commerce Road and Highway 15, will be finished. That’s still up in the air. 

“I don’t know that,” Love said. “I know they want it up as quick as possible.” 

Beyond Wawa, Harbor Freight advances 

And yes, work continues on another commercial project, as Harbor Freight looks to move in. That building will go in front of the corner of Lowe’s, where Dominion Drive is. Love said that Harbor Freight has already posted their bonds and getting the final paperwork ready, before construction can start. 

“They’re getting their final building permit packaged together, which includes architectural and everything the building official has to look at for safety,” Love said. “We should (first) see the grading for the car wash and Wawa and then you’ll see harbor freight.”

Love mentioned that in the weeks and months to come, residents might see construction signs going up around Lowe’s, just to warn people what to expect. 

“Since all of those are going to be under construction, you might see some dump trucks come in and out (of the property),” he said.