Tysons, VA

When Wawa comes to the Town of Vienna later this year, people might be able to get wine and beer.

A pending license indicates that the convenience store company is seeking “wine and beer off premises” for its upcoming location at 465 W. Maple Avenue.

The 6,200-square-foot convenience store plans to be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and will be the first location to feature a partnership with Tesla — meaning people will be able to use eight charging stations for electric cars. The store is hoping to open this spring along Maple Avenue.

While the Vienna location is boasting a lot of “firsts” for Wawa, the beer sales are nothing new. According to news reports, Wawa jumped into the beer sales market several years ago.

Photo via David Levy and Associates 

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After Wawa chopped down trees it wasn’t supposed to, Town of Vienna officials want to create a plan to prevent anything similar happening again.

Town Manager Mercury Payton told the Vienna Town Council on Monday (Dec. 9) that a committee is working “to identify more efficient communication with residents about construction incidents.”

The town announced last month that Wawa’s actions were a result of “misunderstanding and human error.” The loss of the trees sparked an uproar among locals — what Councilmember Steve Potter called an “extremely emotional” incident at the Monday meeting.

Payton apologized to both the residents who live behind the Wawa site and all of the residents in the town.

“I feel awful about the fact that the town played a role in initiating the action that Wawa took in removing the trees,” Payton said.

Payton told the councilmembers that the town’s urban arborist told Wawa about the health of the trees that Wawa eventually cut — even though they were not included in the approved site plan.

“It is in my view that if the town urban arborist had not brought the matter up to Wawa, Wawa would not have brought the trees down,” Payton said. “They would have stuck to the site plan and the issue would not have occurred.”

Payton said that the arborist should have advised Wawa that a site plan change was necessary, but that, ultimately, the site plan is Wawa’s responsibility.

Payton later said the arborist did not do anything incorrectly when pressed by Councilmember Pasha Majdi about the roles and responsibilities of the arborist.

“I don’t think the best way to run this town is to say that someone should have done something that they are not tasked with doing and it’s not required and it’s not explicated to that staffer,” Majdi said.

“From our perspective, we try to go above and beyond,” Payton responded.

Currently, the town’s departments each manage their own communication with residents about projects, Payton said. The internal review is meant to identify how the departments can follow a unified communication plan.

Several councilmembers expressed support for the internal review, including Councilmember Douglas Noble, who requested to see the outcome of the committee’s findings and recommendations.

“I always like to see what the problem is first… and then work forward,” Noble said.

“The trees are dead. They aren’t alive,” Potter said. “There are a lot of trees that this could happen to again.”

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(Updated at 5:30 p.m.) The Town of Vienna says that directions from the town’s arborist led to Wawa chopping down trees last week, which sparked an uproar among locals.

The town said in a press release today (Nov. 26) that it is working with Wawa to reach out to neighbors behind the construction site (465 Maple Avenue W.) “to address impacts resulting from last week’s removal of trees.”

The town added that Wawa has offered to plant 12-15 new trees in the spring to replace the three silver maple trees that were removed, which included one that was roughly 60 years old.

The town said last week that the tree removal “was due to an onsite misunderstanding and human error.” In the press release today, Vienna officials say that Wawa followed the direction of the town’s urban arborist.

More from the press release:

In a preconstruction meeting a few weeks ago, the Town’s arborist advised that, in his professional assessment, the trees on the Town’s property between Wawa and the neighbors’ property would be negatively impacted by construction activity and would almost certainly die within the next three years. He commented that the trees, which already showed signs of rot, decay, and disease, would need to be removed now or in the future.

“Both parties can accept some responsibility for removal of the unapproved trees,” says Town Manager Mercury Payton, “and we’re all very sorry for the impact this is having on Wawa’s neighbors. I am certain that Wawa would not have removed those trees had it not been recommended by our urban arborist. I wish that he also had offered to assist Wawa with revising and resubmitting the site plan.”

“We appreciate that the Town of Vienna recognizes our commitment to rectifying this situation and our resolve to work together to support the neighbors,” says Lori Bruce, public relations manager for Wawa. “We remain committed to going above and beyond to be a good neighbor and a strong partner to this community.”

The Town of Vienna is committed to sustainability as well as to being responsive to citizens. Vienna has been a Tree City USA for 17 years and has a very active, Council-appointed Conservation and Sustainability Commission. In addition, the Town’s recently renovated community center has achieved gold-level LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) while the planned new police station is being designed to achieve LEED silver level.

In recent days, the town and Wawa received backlash from residents who told ABC7 that they were upset that Wawa cut down the trees that were not on the company’s property.

“While this was an unfortunate misunderstanding as we were operating with the guidance of the municipal arborist, right now we are 100% focused on rectifying the situation,” Wawa said in a statement to ABC7.  “This includes going above and beyond to address this and working hand in hand with the town and the neighbors to ultimately serve as an enhancement to the community.”

“It will take five years for the trees to mature to create a buffer. Until then there is no barrier to the construction and subsequent traffic of a 24/7 store. Our backyard privacy is gone,” Ingrida Lusis, a Vienna resident whose house was next to the trees, according to ABC7, posted on Facebook.

The town will not impost a fine on Wawa, Lynne Coan, a spokesperson for the town, told Tysons Reporter.

“I’m not sure about who will be responsible for [new] trees,” Coan said, “I believe the Wawa representative and neighbors will work that out when they meet later this week.”

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The Town of Vienna says that a dozen new trees will replace the ones Wawa removed — but wasn’t supposed to — for its upcoming Maple Avenue spot.

A Town of Vienna Facebook post today (Friday) said that Wawa mistakenly removed three trees and “several other small and dead ones” from town-owned property adjacent to the site (245 Maple Avenue W.) yesterday.

“The tree removal was due to an onsite misunderstanding and human error,” the post said.

Within the next few weeks, Wawa plans to add 12 new trees in the alley and property “as close to six-inch caliper trees as possible,” the post said.

The town noted that representatives from Wawa “acknowledged that their action was not in compliance with the approved site plan.”

Image via David Levy & Associates

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Wawa hosted a celebration in Vienna this morning (Sept. 24) to mark the company’s new location opening in April.

Dozens of people showed up to the event, which featured a virtual reality tour of the upcoming location, food and drink samples and speeches from and other local politicians. 

At the event, a company spokesperson said that the company is planning a grand opening party on April 10 at 465 W. Maple Avenue. The 6,200-square-foot convenience store plans to be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

This will be the first location that features a partnership with Tesla, John Poplawski, Wawa’s director of site acquisition and development, said. Instead of a traditional gas station, the Vienna location will feature eight charging stations for electric cars.

“The Vienna store will be Wawa’s first retrofit store, and the first non-fuel store in Virginia in 20 years,” a press release said, “Wawa hopes to have 40 new stores in the Northern Virginia market over the next 15 years.”

The expansion plans will bring more than 2,000 new jobs to the Northern Virginia area, according to a company spokesperson at the event.

Del. Mark Keam (D-35th District) spoke at the Wawa event this morning and said that these new jobs will help draw young people to the city and boost economic development in the area.

“We are very excited to have you coming into town,” Mayor Laurie DiRocco addressed the crowd before the “coming soon” sign reveal. “We hope you’ll be a good neighbor.”

Within the last few months, Wawa instituted a catering option, spokesperson Alyson Mucha said, adding that many locations also offer freshly baked goods and customers can expect the same thing at the new locations in northern Virginia.

To continue Wawa’s philanthropic work across the country, the company pledged at the event $30,000 to support the Law Enforcement Torch Run in Northern Virginia, which raises funds and awareness for the Special Olympics.

Wawa executives at the event said they hope the new location in Vienna becomes a gathering space for the community.

“This is a space that was looking to be revitalized,” Poplawski said. “This is an opportunity to bring everything Wawa offers to the Town of Vienna.”

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The new Wawa in Vienna may not be a gas station, but it will have a bank of electric car chargers.

The Wawa will be located at 465 Maple Ave W, formerly a Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage that’s sat vacant for over a year.

The store will include eight 250 kilowatt Tesla charging posts and two 430 kilowatt Tesla charging cabinets, according to permits filed with Fairfax County.

The chargers will be the first Tesla chargers in Vienna. There are currently three in Tysons with a fourth listed as opening somewhere near the Greensboro Metro station sometime in 2019.

Wawa also received permits for new signage around the building.

The new location is part of a new series of Wawas throughout the D.C. area, including locations in Columbia Heights, Tenlytown and Adams Morgan.

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After some uncertainty about when or where the new Wawa in Vienna would arrive, plans have finally been submitted to Vienna’s Board of Architectural Review.

The new plans show the new Wawa will be located at 465 Maple Ave W.

The Wawa will be constructed on a property that was formerly a Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage location and has been vacant for over a year. The location is across the street from the controversial mixed-use development approved in October at the Vienna Wolf Trap Hotel.

The Board will review the plans at today’s (Friday) work session, which started at 8 a.m.

The new Vienna location is part of a regional expansion for Wawa, which has previously said that it plans to add 30-50 stores in the Washington, D.C. area.

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Hoagies are on the horizon for Fairfax County.

Wawa, the convenience store chain with a cult following, just reiterated its commitment to opening stores around the county, and said that the store models may be unique to the area.

“Fairfax County and Northern Virginia is a really important market for us,” Wawa CEO Chris Gheysens was quoted as saying in a WTOP article Thursday. “We are looking at strategically bending our store model to get more access to that area and plan to announce some openings in that area coming up.”

Wawa currently has two stores in Northern Virginia — in Sterling and Chantilly. It also has two locations in the District — a store new Dupont Circle that opened late last year and a new location in Georgetown that opened yesterday.

A Wawa rep confirmed to Tysons Reporter last month that it was “actively looking for new locations in Vienna and look[s] forward to sharing confirms plans and locations as they take shape,” leading to julibation on social media. The company has previously said that it is hoping to open 30-50 stores total in the D.C. area.

Photo courtesy Grant/PoPville.com

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Wawa is still coming to Vienna, but not to the former BP station site at Maple Ave and Park Street in Vienna, as reported earlier.

“I apologize for confirming the Maple Ave and Park Street address,” a Wawa spokeswoman said via email. “This was incorrect and is not a location we are considering. We are still actively looking for new locations in Vienna and look forward to sharing confirms plans and locations as they take shape.”

The convenience store and gas station chain has been expanding throughout the Washington, D.C. area with plans to add 30-50 stores in the region.

News of Wawa’s plan to come to Vienna was greeted with jubilation on social media from the chain’s fervent fans.

“As a Philly native, I am thrilled to hear this!” said a reader on the Tysons Reporter Facebook page.

“Our new go-to lunch spot,” wrote another.

Tysons Reporter initially asked Wawa about plans for the site after hearing from a tipster and, subsequently, two local business owners that they heard that the company would be opening a new store there. It is unclear where else in Vienna Wawa may now be looking.

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Update on 11/30/18 — A Wawa spokeswoman says the company is still looking to open a store in Vienna, but not at the site discussed below.

Wawa is working to open a new store at the busy corner of Maple Ave and Park Street in Vienna, TysonsReporter.com has learned.

The store will replace a shuttered gas station at the corner and an adjacent property that houses two well-liked businesses: a tailor shop and the Arthur Christine salon.

The Vienna Town Council approved the redevelopment of the properties into a new gas station and 2,500 square foot convenience store — the identity of the store operator was not revealed — by a 5-2 vote in May. The development includes 11 parking spaces, wider sidewalks and the placement of utility lines underground, the Sun Gazette reported.

In response to an inquiry from Tysons Reporter, Wawa confirmed that it was working to open a new store at the location, though no opening timeframe has been set.

“We are pursuing this site in Vienna,” said Wawa Public Relations Manager Lori Bruce. “While it’s too soon in the land development phase to confirm a timeline for construction, we can say that we are excited to have the opportunity to bring Wawa to this community.”

Wawa has been expanding across the D.C. area after announcing plans last year to add 30-50 stores in the region. The convenience store chain currently has locations in Sterling, Chantilly and the District.

Mr. Foutah, the owner of the tailor shop that is set to be redeveloped, said his lease expires in June 2019 and he has been told that the building will be torn down.

Foutah, who prefers to only go by his last name, said he has been in the location at 109 Park Street NE for 20 years. He added that he is planning to move to a new storefront somewhere in Vienna.

“I’m optimistic about the move,” he said. “It’s a lot of memories, but the way I think about it is that it’s going to give me a good opportunity to clean up the place.”

Rachel Grante, who co-owns the Arthur Christine salon with her husband, said the business moved out of the 113 Park Street NE location on Oct. 1, after seven years there, and is now temporarily operating out of the nearby Michel Rene salon at 165 Maple Ave E. She called the move “bittersweet,” adding that “it will be interesting how the town adjusts” to the new Wawa store.

Dusan Grante said the couple is looking for a new, permanent location and “trying our best to stay here” in Vienna, though they’re also scouting storefronts in Merrifield and Reston.

Photo via Google Maps

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