New Wawa Coming Soon, Next to Independence Hall

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.

Independence Hall

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.

Future Wawa
A peek inside the space

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.

  • city dog

    Moe WAWA packaging trash next to the most important location in our history. What fxxx joy.

  • Michael Penn

    This is pure shit !

  • Architecture is Important

    They better work on the signage- their basic/cheap red sign isn’t going to cut it for this historic/flagship location.

  • James Goodwin

    A nice place to pick up a hoagie after delving into American History. I would like WAWA to open one more store at 2nd and Market area to catch that crowd. WAWA has met resistance from NIMBYS in the suburbs who manufacture reasons to deny permit for gas pump hoagie sale on grounds of protecting older gas stations who sell nothing in food and pump gas.

    • Clank

      Our founding fathers are rolling in their graves.

      In at least one instance in the suburbs, it’s not just NIMBYism for no reason – it’s that Wawa wants to build a huge free-standing store surrounded by gas pumps and parking on a pedestrian-oriented street in a location that’s purposely zoned to retain density and walkability. That is not a manufactured concern. If they could create an urban model (built to the sidewalk with no gas and perhaps parking on the side) geared for the denser boroughs, they’d probably receive less resistance. Clearly they’re doing it in the city.

  • Back during the Bicentennial Years (if memory serves) that corner was used for a tourist fast food joint called “Philly’s Friendly”. (I don’t know whether it was affiliated with the Ice Cream Friendly’s or or no). It was a sit down /eat in place. Also- up the street at ten hundred the block- a really cool “international styled” McDonald’s. Gots to feed the masses.

  • James Goodwin

    Just checked the status. Sounds like the Historical Commission never discussed the Wawa signage. what is going on with this? Are they coming to take the space?