The eastern edge of Maplewood’s Springfield Avenue could be host to a brand new Wawa food store and gas station development by sometime in early 2016 and neighbors are generally positive about the development.
A Wawa Food Market and gas station is planned for the 1.5 acre site on Springfield Avenue between Jacoby Street and Chancellor Avenue. The site is made up of five parcels owned by Bill Harrington, Jr.; Eric Steinfeldt of Bernardsville is the site contract, and Brett Skapinetz, who was the site engineer for Walgreen’s on Springfield Avenue, is also the site engineer for this Wawa development.
Steinfeldt and Skapinetz visited the Hilton Neighborhood Association’s month meeting on March 19 to present plans to neighbors.
“I look forward to something new,” said one neighbor. “I hope they put QuickChek out of business.”
One neighbor did voice concerns about the impact of traffic on Jacoby Street where the Township has been working to reduce traffic. Skapinetz noted that the site plan was “very preliminary” and said that a traffic study would be forthcoming. He also noted that access on Jacoby street was more of a “relief valve” — as one of four access points to the site. Skapinetz pointed out that the main entry and exit for the site was on Springfield Avenue.
The Bank of America drive-through site at the corner of 45th and Springfield Avenue will remain. The Wawa will operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Steinfeldt said that he hoped to be before the Zoning Board this summer for minor variances; he said that construction would take about six months. Skapinetz said that minor environmental issues on the property were already being addressed. He noted that new gas tanks for fueling pumps would be “state of the art” double-walled fiberglass tanks with leak detection.
All in all, Steinfeldt and Skapinetz provided a picture of a quality project and neighbors were literally eating it up — Steinfeldt had brought subs (or hoagies) from a Wawa in Parsippany to feed attendees at the meeting. Skapinetz assured neighbors about quality construction, materials, fencing, landscaping and lighting. Steinfeldt pointed out the quality of Wawa products and management: “They’re immaculate. They run it like a battleship…. If you have any concerns about this site, I guarantee you, they’ll get on it.”
In response to a question about price competitiveness, Skapinetz mentioned that Wawa has its own brand of gasoline and that their gas prices are famously cheap: “They really have the lowest prices.”
Mayor Vic DeLuca noted that the Wawa proposal was one of several improvements that would be transforming the easternmost end of Springfield Avenue in Maplewood. In addition, a 235-unit apartment building should be under construction at the former PSE&G site before the end of the year, and the former Maplewood Diner has been brought and renovated. “We’re now talking to some folks to come in and open a restaurant, a catering hall,” said DeLuca.
“This whole area is really being regenerated,” said DeLuca.
Click on any image below to see a slideshow of renderings and photos from the Hilton Neighborhood Association meeting on March 19.