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Permits Cancelled For Palm Coast Wawa, But City Insists “All Indications” Store Still a Go. Just Not Yet.

| July 8, 2019

Where's Wawa? The site of the planned convenience store and gas station was cleared and an access road built around it, but that's it. The developer cancelled further permitting. (© FlaglerLive)

Where’s Wawa? The site of the planned convenience store and gas station was cleared and an access road built around it, but that’s it. The developer cancelled further permitting. (© FlaglerLive)

Around midday today Palm Coast government put up an update about the Wawa convenience store expected at Bulldog Drive and State Road 100. The update was posted shortly after FlaglerLive inquired about the project in calls to the deputy manager and the deputy development director, neither of whom had called back by the time the update was posted.


“Some of you have been asking when the Wawa at Bulldog Drive and State Road 100 will be built. The site plan was approved last September,” the Facebook update read, “the building permit was approved in January, and there isn’t any further permitting work to be done as they have all of their approvals from the City to do what they need to do to build.”

That’s not quite accurate.

Wawa, in fact, cancelled its permitting process last week, on July 2. The city’s update did not mention the cancellations, which affect three permits in all (for the $11 million Wawa project, for a dumpster enclosure, and for the $180,000 gas canopy.) Beau Falgout, the city’s deputy manager, was not aware of the cancellations when asked by a reporter, but quickly found out after speaking with Ray Tyner, the deputy development director. “They called the building department to cancel it, and indicated that a new contractor will be submitting the package,” Falgout said.

That means all permitting applications for the Wawa structure at the 9-acre site must be resubmitted, making whatever building permit approved in January null and void: the original building permit was never picked up. Last fall, the city was expecting the store to open this month. Now it’s not clear when construction will start, let alone when the store will open, if it does.

“One of our planners told me the Wawa developer indicated they will likely wait ’til September or so to start,” Cindi Lane, the former spokesperson for the city, had written in mid-June, before her resignation. At the time, the permits were still awaiting pick-up. “They have a builder who has previously constructed other Wawa stores to do the vertical work including putting in the underground tanks. The horizontal improvements have primarily been completed by a local site contractor.”

The contractor was actually Kissimmee-based Carl Pursell Construction. The firm had been going through the usual permitting process with the city for several months in late 2018, with building officials placing holds and requiring further tweaks to the contractor’s plans, which is not unusual. All activity ceased at the end of the year.

“They’re definitely coming, there’s no indication whatsoever that they’re not coming,” Tyner said today, though he had just found out that the permits had been cancelled. He said it’s not unusual, when developers change contractors. “They have a lot of their own contractors that do their own work around the state of Florida, that do the vertical construction, and I believe they’re really, really busy,” Tyner said. He surmised that the company needed a new contractor “because they’re so busy right now and probably shuffling contractors.” Still, he insisted, “there’s all indications it’s still a go, for sure.” But, he said, “could be a little while.”

At the site itself, there’d been the demolition of a structure toward the north end of the parcel, a $13,500 job carried out by S.E. Cline earlier this year, followed by site-development work, which included laying out an access, asphalted road with curbs around the property, with an entrance off State Road 100 and one off Bulldog Drive. That work is done. The permitting and inspection fees on that portion of the work ($1,105) was paid. But that’s the only payment of fees the city has received so far. None of the more than $215,000 in fees for the greater totality of project has been paid, nor would it be paid until the permitting is completed.

Lori Bruce, a spokesperson for Wawa, could not give a timeline about expected construction–or even confirm when work would resume. “If this store is not yet under construction, we would not be able to confirm or provide any details about the planned construction or opening until we are further along in the land development process,” Bruce said in an email this afternoon.

The uncertainty echoed some of the same dashed promise of a new Walmart store at the south end of Old Kings Road, near State Road 100, a store for whom the city rerouted Old Kings Road and borrowed $6.7 million to pay for the $10 million project before saddling other taxpayers along Old Kings with the bill. Walmart never built the store. That project was much larger and its timing much more precarious. It was among the many real estate casualties of the housing bubbles a decade ago.

Stirring similar sweeteners, the city sold the 9-acre parcel intended for Wawa on favorable terms, for $575,000 less than it paid for it. The city sold the land to Orlando-based Unicorp National Developments, the only company to submit a proposal in response to the city’s request for bids from anyone interested in developing that land. Unicorp put together the Wawa deal. But that deal was originally conditional on the developer acquiring additional parcels adjoining the parcel intended for Wawa, on the east side of Midway Drive, among them the Kathleen McGann property, where Airport Auto Used Cars operates. Unicorp was to develop further commercial properties such as restaurants and shops. Those acquisitions have not been successful. But Chuck Whittall, president of Unicorp, perhaps anticipating resistance, told the city council in 2016 that construction would proceed around holdouts anyway.

Now, the Unicorp plan may be limited to Wawa. “Unicorp is still involved with the original plan,” Tyner said. “I’m not real sure if they are going to expand. I think they had an option to purchase and decided not to. They’re still involved with the Wawa, for sure.” But not beyond that.

Today, there was no fear on city officials’ part that the Wawa project would not go through. “The site work is done, it’s just a matter of the building permit application,” Falgout said. “And if it’s the same set of plans, it’s really quick.” The cancelled permits, he said, were for the “”vertical construction on the site.” No new application has been submitted.

Born as a textile manufacturing company, then a dairy farm, and named for a game a then-local Native American tribe liked to play, The Wawa, Penn.-based chain of some 800 stores in six states hasn’t lacked for appetite in Florida: it opened more than 100 stores in the state in four years. In June alone, Lake Placid south of Sebring, Fort Pierce, Lantana, DeLand and Indian River County all saw new Wawa stores open or announced plans for new stores. In mid-June, Palm Beach County saw the second Wawa open in the county that year, and the seventh in two years. The old Barnes and Noble store across from the Speedway in Daytona Beach is being demolished to make way for a Wawa. There are 11 Wawas in the Jacksonville area, and three more planned. There are four in the Daytona Beach-Ormond Beach area. But the area between Jacksonville and Daytona Beach remains a Wawa desert (or a RaceTrac oasis, depending on your perspective).

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26 Responses for “Permits Cancelled For Palm Coast Wawa, But City Insists “All Indications” Store Still a Go. Just Not Yet.”

  1. Joe says:

    Wawa is great, best hogie ever! For the people that don’t know a hogie is a sub!

  2. Dianna says:

    Wawa is a Canadian-owned company. Enough said.

  3. Stretchem says:

    It’s dead and stinking. Two new Racetracs in the vicinity led to the demise. Snooze ya lose.

  4. Maggie says:

    Glad it’s cancelled! WE DO NOT NEED GAS STATIONS AND STRIP MALLS EVERY 1/2 MILE!

  5. Derrick says:

    So how long before it’s approved for another affordable housing complex

  6. Carol Griner says:

    First of all, the High School is at that intersection. Second.. The traffic is bad now, it will only get worse. The County and City charge way too much on fees!!! Stop with all the fast food restaurants, and get some decent restaurants in.

  7. Willy Boy says:

    Thought they were a family-run operation out of Penn. These convenience stores bring such high paying jobs, and don’t jam up traffic all that much. The Mobile Station/Convenience Store on Pine Lake Pkwy has been a wonderful addition to a residential neighborhood, where it has only been robbed a few times, made for a dangerous intersection, and gives the motorcycles and muffler popping kiddie cars the opportunity to blast-off as they depart.

  8. Dave D says:

    Wawa is a family owned company from Pennsylvania, always has been, always will. Do some research before you post.

  9. jane doh says:

    Wawa is a Pennsylvania-based company. Best hoagies and dairy around. As for the snooze-loose comment – why do some companies in this town get to build things so much faster than others? Why are some companies treated like sh@t when they try to build here? Maybe Wawa didn’t provide the right booze like that other builder did (https://flaglerlive.com/136173/developer-building-department/)

  10. jane doh says:

    additional comment: Wawa wouldn’t do that anyway.

  11. Derrick Redder says:

    Maybe now they can work on the final approval of the Costco for 100 and Old Kings

  12. John R Brady says:

    Wawa provides quality and tasty breakfast and lunch meals and their coffee is world class. The best thing about Wawa is how they treat their employees. The starting salary is better and they have a high retention rate and outstanding management training. Someone dropped the ball

    The location across from the high school is bad. And the sole egress from the property on to Bull Dog Drive is a very bad choice,

    Wawa site selection person, Bryan Duke, dropped a ball because i personally talked to him way before Race Track came on the scene. Bryan Duke’s first choice was Palm Coast Parkway but there was no lot suitable to build a Wawa.

    Either of current Race Track sites were available in 2014 but somehow Wawa lost out.

  13. Christopher T Lemke says:

    What a shame!
    WAWA is absolutely THE best quality convenience store on earth. The others are n.ot even close.

  14. CHRISTOPHER LEMKE says:

    Not true. Corporate offices located on 202 outside Philly. WAWA is Canadian indian for goose, hence the logo. Do your research!

  15. Agkistrodon says:

    Waste of space.

  16. Laurie says:

    @ Maggie,,,I agree with you!

  17. Outsider says:

    Well, at least the city blew another 575,000 dollars worth of tax money. But the real issue is how will we survive without another gas station? Maybe they can put another McDonald’s there.

  18. JustBeNice says:

    I just looked on WAWA.com and nowhere in the article did it say it was a Canadian company. Christopher Lemke has s correct.

  19. Matt says:

    That’s palm coast for you. Let nothing move in.

  20. Clinton b says:

    I agree with Maggie, why would palm coast permit this? 5 gas stations and drug handouts within a 3 mile stretch!

  21. Knowsall says:

    Put this Wawa right between Taco Bell and Aldi. Right where Gate chickened out. This intersection is ultra busy and has NEVER had a gas station. No brainer. Or, get moving Gate!

  22. Sandra says:

    Wawa, Inc. (/wɑːwɑː/ WAH-WAH) is an American chain of convenience stores and gas stations located along the East Coast of the United States, operating in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, Washington, D.C., and Florida.[5] The company’s corporate headquarters is located in the Wawa area of Chester Heights, Pennsylvania in Greater Philadelphia. As of 2008, Wawa was the largest convenience store chain in Greater Philadelphia, and it is also the third-largest retailer of food in Greater Philadelphia, after ACME Markets and ShopRite.

  23. jane doh says:

    Wawa is not just another gas station/pre-package stores like like the businesses mentioned (racetrack, 7-11, kangroo,etc). Wawa is so much more – fresh food, dairy (back home), etc. I would suggest everyone stop by and try one in Daytona or jax when they get the chance. I have been writing to them few times a year since I moved here trying to get them to come here. I think they should have picked somewhere along rt one between matanzas and rt 100 before bunnell. it is a shame the city scared them away.

  24. jane doh says:

    as for ACME – wish they were here, too along with pathmark.

  25. Wahoo for Wawa says:

    As I read this story and then these comments,I wonder if everybody who commented read the entire article?Some don’t make a bit of sense.

  26. Pickle Rick says:

    Grew up with these stores in New Jersey. Best hoagies ever!! Can’t wait!! I’d say it’s about time, we have a Publix every 6 feet, WaWa deserves a spot too.

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