Over the past decade, Wawa, the suburban Philadelphia convenience store institution, has been expanding outside of its original territory into Northern New Jersey, and has opened several locations, from Maplewood in Essex County to Garfield in Bergen County. In fact, in May, it was revealed that a Wawa convenience store and gas station could be coming to the border of Jersey City and Bayonne in Hudson County. Now, Jersey Digs has learned that Wawa is planning to open another location in Essex County by coming to the state’s largest city.
The store appears to be proposed for 1300-1346 or 1374-1398 McCarter Highway/Route 21 at the edge of the Lower Broadway neighborhood in Newark’s Central Ward. Both properties are currently large vacant lots along a largely commercial and industrial corridor.
Plans for the current project have not been heard by the Newark Central Planning Board or the Newark Zoning Board of Adjustment, and it is not clear if this location will include a gas station. However, a community meeting regarding the plans will be held on 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 Jersey Digs 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.”
“We have no police presence in this neighborhood,” Gray added.
Back in April, Jersey Digs 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.