The proposed Wawa “urban concept” at 1222 Wisconsin Avenue, currently occupied by Restoration Hardware, got a mixed reception at the June 29 ANC meeting. On hand were Wawa’s Susan Bratton, architect David Levy and landlords Bryce and Mike Weaver.
In and around Georgetown, the project has been overwhelmingly seen in a negative light. Many area residents perceive it as the latest in a line of impersonal franchises — including Domino’s, CVS and 7-Eleven — that threaten a community proud of its locally owned shops and historic streetscapes.
The 1927 building that will house Wawa has been home to an Arby’s and a Roy Rogers in the past. The Weaver family has owned the hardware store W. T. Weaver & Sons at 1208 Wisconsin Avenue since 1889. Mike Weaver has said that his family has been in talks with Wawa for more than a year. “Small businesses need to keep contemporary needs in mind,” he was quoted as saying.
Wawa’s Bratton told the ANC that the store, which will be open 24 hours a day, hopes to serve residents who work late-night or early-morning shifts elsewhere in the neighborhood, and to provide a lower cost alternative to some of the area’s pricier offerings.
Commissioners expressed concern about trash issues with an always-open fast-food business and about the design of the store. The many renderings that were required before the minimalist, high-tech look of the nearby Apple store was approved were recalled by some in attendance.