BRADENTON -- Wawa is planning to build a second convenience store in Bradenton, this time near downtown.
Wawa is proposing to build a 6,119-square-foot store with 20 pumps, and outdoor seating on the corner of U.S. 301-41 and Sixth Avenue on vacant land across the street from KFC, according to plans filed with the city of Bradenton.
The store, 701 First St. E., is being approved through the administrative review process, and does not need to be OK'd by the City Council, said Timothy Polk, director of planning and community development for the city of Bradenton. The US 301-41 corridor is seeing revitalization recently with approved developments and restaurants, and Polk hopes to see that trend continue.
"I'm looking at the corridor to be a food corridor," Polk said, pointing to the Zeko's, Starbucks and convenience stores/gas stations offering food for folks on the go.
Manatee County Schools is also in the process of selling are Owens Annex, better known as the Checkers property, on the corner of Manatee Avenue and First Street, and Polk hopes that location will be a national retailer. No plans have been filed with the city yet for that property.
Wawa will need to make some architectural adjustments before final approval, and the site is also required to have public art, Polk said. The plan, designed by Cuhaci & Peterson architects and Bohler Engineering, also calls for 71 parking spaces.
The 2.4-acre parcel is owned by Sun Liquidation Inc. of Lakeland, according to property records, which acquired the land as Sun Publications of Florida Inc., in 2003 for $905,000 from T S Printing.
The privately held convenience store founded in Wawa, Pa., is known for its quality food as much as its cheap gas prices. Wawa, which is a Native American word for flying goose, features a wide selection of freshly brewed coffee and prepared and made-to-order hoagies. Most Wawas are open 24 hours, 365 days a year.
The chain has more than 570 convenience stores, 200 of which sell gas, and are typically found in the Mid-Atlantic. Wawa expanded into Florida last year with its first stores in the Orlando region in July 2012 and later opened additional stores in Tampa Bay, bringing the total to about 17 in Florida, with 18 more expected to open by the end of 2014 in Tampa and 21 more in Central Florida by the end of next year, according to the company.
The City Council in June approved plans for a Wawa at 4455 State Road 64 E., at the site of a former Eckerd Drug. That store will be smaller than the one proposed for downtown Bradenton, at 5,636 square feet and 16 pumps (eight islands).
The East Bradenton store is expected to open in 2015, according to a company spokeswoman, when 25 additional Wawas are expected to open. By 2015, Wawa expects to have 100 stores in Central Florida and Tampa Bay.
A Wawa spokesperson did not return messages seeking comment by deadline Tuesday.