Thursday, March 20, 2014

Not a Pop Up Gas Station: Opportunity for high-density, mixed-use development out as pumps go in at 19th & Walnut St

Fuel, coffee set to flow 
The enormous, long-vacant lot at 1911 Walnut St. in Center City, a stone's, toss from the northwest corner of Rittenhouse Square, is unoccupied no more. The new tenant--a galaxy way from its summer 2012 use: a Pennsylvania Horticultural Society Pop Up Garden--is a suburban-sized Wawa gas station. In addition to multi-family housing, the lot is zoned for a "five-story refueling station." Wawa, however, went low-density installing only a single level of pumps with an extended covering to protect customers from the elements. Recent reports had Toll Brothers building a mixed-use project at the location, but the construction of the station came out of no where, and, surprisingly, after many downtown Wawas have closed up shop. "This will be our first gas station in Center City," said one company representative. "A prominent location, the size we need to build a first-class fueling center. The smell of gas fumes in Rittenhouse Square will act as a great reminder to folks that they can refuel across the street ... it is exciting." Vehicles must enter the station via Walnut St. and exit onto Moravian St. The store, the second phase of the development, will come next year, forcing current customers using cash to prepay at the 17th and Arch Streets Wawa, a half-mile trek away. There will be a coffee stand on site.

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