Wawa Gives Pa. General Store 75 More Days

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Guthriesville's general store, a restaurant that closed several years ago, will not be razed for a Wawa gas station.

Credit: National Trust for Historic Preservation

After a seven-year dispute between Wawa and Pennsylvania preservationists, the Guthriesville General Store in Chester County, Pa., is back on the market.

In 2001, Wawa attempted to purchase and demolish the historic building for a new gas station and convenience store in its place.

But because of the 1869 Italianate structure's eligibility for listing on the National Register of Historic Places as well as its proximity to wetlands, both preservationists and environmental groups succeeded in stalling the demolition with a Section 106 case.

On June 26, Wawa and the East Brandywine Township negotiated a programmatic agreement that granted a 75-day period for Guthriesville to secure another buyer.

Priced at $10, the store appears to be a bargain. However, interested parties must comply with a number of stipulations, including a required letter of credit for $1.3 million, a promise to preserve the building, and an agreement that the store's new use will not compete with Wawa.

Those in East Brandywine are still hopeful that they will find a buyer before the agreement expires in September.

"Chester County was hit by the last construction boom," says John Black, chairman of the East Brandywine Historical Commission. "The general store is one of the few remaining historical buildings."

After September, current owner Claudio DiGiamberardino, will be free to sell the 1.4-acre site to Wawa, which will "document the structure before demolishing it," Wawa spokeswoman Lori Bruce told the Philadelphia Inquirer in February.

Linda Morrison, a member of the East Brandywine Historical Commission, says, "We don't want to give it up, and we don't want our town to look like every other paved-over place in America." 

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