14 thoughts on “As if “downtown” couldn’t get any worse”

  1. Well, well, well, Daddio, you and I agree on something.
    It is not only nighttime revelers who will miss this place but also anyone in search of bread, milk, or a surprisingly decent-for-the-price sandwich.

  2. I heard about this over the weekend. On Sunday I was at Wawa and asked the cashier if he had any idea what might be going in at that location. He told me that he thinks an “organic grocery store” is going to replace the Wawa.

    Anybody know anything about this?

  3. I say bring on a small grocery store. It is MUCH needed for students and locals.

    Something like a Yes! Organic Market (another Glut location?) would *maybe* fit in this space – it’s way too small for a Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, etc.

    I’ll still miss the Wawa, but only for a little while.

  4. Philly is my hometown, and every time I walk into the College Park WaWa its a little slice of home. The only other WaWa I know of in the DC area is in Woodbridge VA, and I’ll be damned if I’m going to drive down there for a Hoagie.

  5. Wawa will be building one of its superstores next to the Beltsville McDonald’s on Route 1. Although this is not easy stumbling distance from campus, it is the primary reason they are dropping the CP store.

    The Beltsville Wawa would have been open already were it not for a lawsuit from the Shell and other gas stations trying to block it. Wawa was victorious and will be rising from the ashes soon.

    For those who don’t venture north of the Mason-Dixon line, Wawa has sparked gas wars in Pennsylvania with prices going as low as $1.65/gallon over the summer in Allentown. The new Wawa store model shies away from leased stores in strip malls or small convenience stores with limited square footage, in favor of large pad sites (which it owns.)

    This is much more profitable than stores like the College Park store. For the record, South St. Steaks, on Rte. 1 near Hartwick, makes its sandwiches on Amoroso’s rolls in case anyone needs a fix before the new Wawa opens.

    Still, what does it mean when a store that is taking money in hand-over-fist from students and residents alike closes up shop in the City? If the popular, successful, established stores leave, what does that mean for the future of retail downtown?

  6. It may mean nothing more than downtown store rents should not be 50 to 100 percent higher than store rents less than a mile away.

  7. It is discouraging that WaWa would seek to promote increased traffic and automobile usage with their new facility while at the same time discouraging appropriately sited community retail locations.

    Something is wrong with planning in this country if commercial entities are not interested in providing relevant community oriented services.

  8. Its obvious financial considerations have won out over community needs. If rent is so high in the city, why would it not be considered to redevelop the entire shopping center to increase the rentable commercial and possibly residential space?

  9. Good point Evan. If only development could act in more of a free market manner, we might see the shopping center get redeveloped within our lifetime. Unfortunately, things are so convoluted that the county’s own planners don’t even fully understand their own process (let alone an average citizen).

  10. That whole shopping center needs to be redesigned; the parking is atrocious. I tend to avoid that place like the plague when school is in session… Bring back High’s! They had the best ice cream.

  11. JohnnyReb makes a decent point. Local shops and store owners make for a great, unique, atmosphere. If we can promote more Mom and Pop-like merchants, rather than national chains, College Park will certainly be a more comfortable, enjoyable and as JohnnyReb points out, memorable experience.

  12. It seems counterintuitive, but seems to me that higher rents have resulted in lower-quality stores in the CP Shopping Center over the years, or at least less interesting stores:

    -Herman’s Sporting Goods replaced by auto parts store and then Rugged Warehouse
    -Hannibal’s Coffee replaced by Potomac Video
    -Ice cream parlor replaced by cheesesteak joint, Brugger’s Bagels, and then Chipotle
    -Kemp Mill Records replaced by McDonalds, later becomes CVS expansion
    -International Gourmet replaced by Wawa
    -Bicycle Place replaced by RadioShack (which moved to make room for Boston Market)
    -Terp Territory replaced by Great Clips Hair, now a Starbucks

    Ah, to think what CP might look like if not for all the turnover.

  13. However, many of the 1990s stores left on their own by 2000. For a while much (50%+, I would guess)of the shopping center was vacant until the construction of South Campus Commons and its 2,000+ beds added a lot of new consumers to the downtown.

  14. If more residents results in higher rent and higher rent results in larger, branch stores such as CVS, Starbucks, Chipotle, etc., it will be interesting to see what adding so many more residents in the new developments will lead to.

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