So during last night’s Zoning Hearing regarding the proposed convenience food store and gas pumps, that is not associated with Wawa or another tenant at this time, we got to thinking about what this could end up being if not a Wawa. As we have reported, Wawa has withdrawn from this zoning application. So it is important to think down the road and consider what companies are potential tenants for this property if the zoning relief is granted.
So besides Wawa, what are other concepts involve gas pumps, convenience stores and food? There are a few:
- On Germantown Pike across from the Plymouth Meeting Mall and at the corner of Butler and Bethlehem Pike there are gas stations/convenience stores that also have a Dunkin Donuts inside.
- Subway offers franchise owners the opportunity for “non-traditional” locations, which include within a convenience store.
- There is a gas and convenience store chain in the center of the state called Snappy’s that offers Kentucky Fried Chicken, Taco Bell and Quiznos within certain locations.
- At the corner of Main and Markley in Norristown there is a gas station and convenience store that has a McDonald’s within it.
Last night we asked this question to a couple people who are involved in this zoning hearing. It didn’t appear that this question has not been thoroughly considered. What constitutes food? Does it constitute cooking? Or does it just constitute cold or warmed items? Is a McDonald’s possible? Most likely not because McDonald’s will want seating and the developer is not proposing a seating area (or a drive thru). But in regards to simply preparing and selling food, no one really knew the answer.
If its not a Wawa, then what is it? Can it be a convenience store and gas station with a Taco Bell Express, Dunkin Donuts, Kentucky Fried Chicken or a McDonald’s? Does that change your opinion on the matter?
On another note, the developer’s traffic engineer testified last night. At one point the methodology behind developing traffic studies was brought into question. The engineer testified that trip counts are based on the size of the stores. What we wanted to ask was whether brand and advertising dollars are considered. For example, a Wawa spends millions of dollars on advertising, so a Wawa the same size as say a mom and pop gas station and convenience store aren’t really comparable. So again it is important to know who the tenant will be.
The next hearing date is Tuesday, September 30th at 7:00 p.m. at Old Borough Hall at West 8th and Fayette.