As the Founding Fathers gathered in the late 1700s to sign the Declaration of Independence and later, to write the United States Constitution, we suspect a common refrain around Independence Hall was “Yo where can I get a good hoagie around here?” Alas, for the last 2 1/2 centuries, or at least for the last decade or so that we can remember, there hasn’t been a great answer to this question. But things are changing in this department in the very near future.
For many years, the retail space on the southwest corner of 6th & Chestnut was home to a tourist-trap type store, offering knick knacks and all sorts of souvenirs to the millions of people that annually come to visit the birthplace of our democracy. Last year, we believe, the store closed, leaving a highly visible space available for rent on the first floor of the Public Ledger Building. With New York developers having purchased this building back in 2015, promising a retail overhaul, we had high hopes for the next tenant in this space.
So we were incredibly cheered the other day when a reader reached out to us, giving us the heads up that Wawa would be opening a location here in the near future. In case you’re worried that this is just a rumor, we saw a site plan for the property that clearly shows a Wawa labeled on the drawing when we visited the property earlier today. So we have to think that this thing is a done deal. Yes, soon enough, tourists will be able to enjoy a Shorti while experiencing American history firsthand. What a time to be alive.
It’s crazy to consider that just a few years ago, it looked like Wawa was shifting their strategy away from urban locations and toward exclusively suburban gas station locations. Remember, several Wawa locations closed, and it looked like 7-11 was poised to fill the void. But over the last couple years we’ve seen Wawa return to the city in a big way, opening a location on Broad Street and at 19th & Market, and planning additional spots at 13th and Chestnut and 22nd and South. We’re in the early stages of a Wawa renaissance in Center City, and the location at 6th & Chestnut could be the company’s Sistine Chapel. Or something like that.