Demolition started Monday at the site of what will be a future Wawa convenience store in Elizabeth City, which could open in 2024 as part of the company’s expansion into eastern North Carolina.
The building at the northeast corner of the Halstead Boulevard/Ehringhaus Street was originally a Golden Corral, and then most recently Pier 17 Seafood and Bar which closed in July.
At the groundbreaking for North Carolina’s first Wawa in Kill Devil Hills in May, company officials would only confirm they are planning to open a location in Elizabeth City and were not yet able to share full details.
The Pennsylvania-based chain submitted a proposal to Elizabeth City last fall, but there had been push back from city leaders over the number and locations of driveways at the busy intersection. Those issues have since been worked out.
Elizabeth City utility crews were at the site last month upgrading power connections, including new transformers, which were paid for by the convenience store chain’s development company.
Current plans call for a 6,049-square-foot building, 48 parking spaces, eight gas pump islands serviced by three underground tanks, new sidewalks along Ehringhaus Street and Halstead Boulevard and a new landscaping plan, The Daily Advance reported.
Details about a groundbreaking for the Elizabeth City store have not been announced. It took about six months from the start of site prep until the ceremony at the site in Kill Devil Hills.
Founded in Pennsylvania in 1964 and based in Chester Heights, Penn., Wawa now has 1,000 stores in six states, including Virginia, D.C, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey and Florida. And they recently broke ground on a store near Mobile, Alabama.
The stores have an almost cult-like following of their large fresh foodservice selection, including Wawa brands such as custom prepared hoagies, freshly-brewed coffee, hot breakfast sandwiches, specialty beverages and an assortment of soups, sides and snacks.
Forbes.com Ranks Wawa as #24 of America’s Largest Private Companies in 2021, #12 on Forbes 100 Halo List in 2022, #1 in the convenience category of Newsweek’s “America’s Best Retailers” list; and Forbes’ List for America’s Best Companies for Veterans.
Their location just off the Highway 168/Chesapeake Expressway in the Edinburgh section of Chesapeake has become a popular stopping point for Outer Banks travelers and commuters.
Site preparation at 1900 North Croatan Highway, at the corner of U.S. 158 and West Fourth Street in Kill Devil Hills, began last fall. But since the groundbreaking ceremony, there has been no work on that site.
Plans for the Kill Devil Hills location calls for a roughly 6,000 square foot store, with 52 parking spaces and 8 gas pump islands across North Croatan Highway from Target.
Company officials have only said they plan to open their first eastern North Carolina stores some time in 2024.