Skip to content

A town square for an unsquare town

redbankgreen

Standing for the vitality of Red Bank, its community, and the fun we have together.

RED BANK: WAWA MEGASTORE PLAN YANKED

mckenna-whitaker-030118-500x379-9907116Former Red Bank mayor Ed McKenna, left, grilled Wawa engineer Mark Whitaker over the proposal at a zoning board hearing in March. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

[UPDATE: This post contains comments from site ower Frank Sala, who was unavailable at the time of the original posting.]

By JOHN T. WARD

hot-topic_03-220x138-220x138-7378486Wawa’s coffee, subs and gasoline prices may have earned it a devoted following, but a controversial plan to build a supersized convenience store and filling station on Red Bank’s southern border has been withdrawn, redbankgreen has learned.

Jennifer Krimko, the attorney for applicant A&B Property Holdings, confirmed that the proposal was withdrawn via letter to the borough dated Tuesday.

The plan called for replacing the Auto Exotica luxury car showroom on Newman Springs Road with a 5,600-square-foot Wawa market and canopied filling station, with 12 pumps dispensing gasoline and diesel fuel.

But the site’s proximity to Broad Street, and its potential impact on traffic flows, quickly emerged as issues at zoning board hearings this winter.

The plan faced pushback from nearby commercial property owners — including Exxon station owner Gulshan Chaabra, who hired former mayor Ed McKenna as his lawyer to fight it — as well as concerns raised by board members.

Frank Sala, who owns Auto Exotica and A&B Property, told redbankgreen Thursday that he scuttled the plan in the face of opposition and the amount of time it might take to defend it in court should it be approved by the Red Bank zoning board.

Wawa, he said, had privately agreed to concessions, including the elimination of a left turn into the property from eastbound Newman Springs Road. But officials in Shrewsbury, who he said had previously not objected to the plan, had reversed position and vowed to fight it.

Sala said he wasn’t up for a process that might take several years before the Wawa was built, if ever.

“I have no interest in that,” he said.

“The losers are the people of Red Bank who are going to be paying more for gas” than they otherwise would, Sala said. In addition, there are 50 new jobs that won’t be created, he said.

Sala previously said he intended to lease the site to the Wawa chain and move his business to a new facility he’s building in Atlantic Highlands. That plan, too, has been scrapped.

“We’re staying where we are,” he said.

Recent scheduled hearings had been postponed, and the matter was most slated to resume June 21. The withdrawal effectively ends the board’s review, which would have to start from square one if a new plan is submitted.

This month’s issue of Inc. magazine reports that the Wawa chain “is rapidly expanding — and ditching gas and cigarettes for kale salads and nerdy coffee.”

Remember: Nothing makes a Red Bank friend happier than to hear "I saw you on Red Bank Green!"
Partyline
RIVER RANGERS RETURN
River Rangers, a summer canoeing program offered by the Navesink Maritime Heritage Association, returns this summer for up to 20 participa ...
DOUBLE DYLAN IN RED BANK
Trucks for a production company filming what one worker said was a Bob Dylan biography have lined Monmouth Street the past two days with cre ...
AFTER THE RAIN
A pear tree branch brought down by a brief overnight storm left a lovely tableau on the sidewalk in front of Red Bank's Riverside Gardens Pa ...
CONE OF UNCERTAINTY
Asked by a redbankgreen reporter why these cones were on top of cars, the owner of the car in the foreground responded: “That’s ...
RAIL RIDER’S VIEW
A commuter's view of Cooper's Bridge and the Navesink River from North Jersey Coast Line train 3320 out of Red Bank Tuesday morning.
PUT ME IN COACH!
Red Bank T-Ball kicked off at East Side park on Saturday morning. The brisk weather proved to be no deterrent to the young players, ranging ...
IT’S A SIGN!
Once proudly declaring its all-but-certain arrival in Spring 2019, the project previously known as Azalea Gardens springs to life again with ...
SPRINGTIME MEMORIES OF CARL
The Easter Bunny getup and St. Patrick’s Day hat that belonged to longtime Red Bank crossing guard and neighborhood smile-creator Carl ...
RED TRUCKS AT RED ROCK
A small dishwasher fire at Red Rock Tap and Grill was put out quickly by firefighters overnight, causing minimal damage. Red Bank Fire Depar ...
CREATIVE COVER UP
The windows of Pearl Street Consignment on Monmouth Street were smashed when a driver crashed their car through them injuring an employee la ...
THEY’RE BACK!
Ospreys returned to the skies over Red Bank this week for the first time since they migrated to warmer climes in late fall. With temperature ...
SPRING IS SPRUNG
RED BANK: Spring 2024 arrives on the Greater Red Bank Green with the vernal equinox at 11:06 p.m. Tuesday.
RED BANK’S FINEST – AND NEWEST
Red Bank Police Officer Eliot Ramos was sworn in as the force’s newest patrolman Thursday, and if you’re doing a double take thinkin ...
EASTER EGG MAYHEM AT THE PARK
An errant whistle spurred an unexpectedly early start to the Spring Egg Hunt on Sunday, which had been scheduled to begin at eggsactly 11am ...
PRESEASON DOCKWORK
RED BANK: With winter winding down, marina gets ready for boating season with some dockwork on our beautiful Navesink River.
CORNED BEEF AND DISCO FRIES?
It’s Friday, and smart Lent-observing Leprechauns know the pot of gold at the end of Red Bank’s rainbow is actually the deliciou ...
SURFBOARD DITCHED
It’s a violation of etiquette in surfing to ditch your board.  (it could hit another surfer and hurt them). But someone appears to ha ...
ELSIE, TAKE ME WITH YOU!
Soaked by pouring rain with the temperature hovering in the low 40’s, this sign in the window of Elsie’s Subs on Monmouth Street ...
WALK THIS WAY
PARTYLINE: Before-and-afters of a sidewalk cleanup on West Street.
SOGGY NOTION
RED BANK: Breezeway sculpture captured the mood downtown as heavy rains fell Saturday morning.