Hernando County has been abuzz about the possibility of Wawa opening a store here as part of a companywide expansion in west central Florida.
Various rumors have placed the convenience store-gas station chain everywhere from State Road 50 and Fort Dade Avenue to U.S. 41 and Powell Road.
But the Philadelphia-based chain finally nailed down a preferred location and has set its sights on a tract of land on the southeast corner of Spring Hill Drive and Anderson Snow Road, across from Publix.
Building department officials said Wawa has attended a pre-application meeting this week, a preliminary step in the process where the company explores the roads, utilities and other infrastructure on the site.
The company has not yet submitted a permit and nothing is definite yet.
Wawa has more than 570 convenience stores — 200 that sell gasoline — in six states, including Florida. They sell built-to-order hoagies, fresh brewed coffee, dairy products, breakfast sandwiches, salads and other products, according to the chain's website.
Wawa, which is an Indian word for Canada goose, has more than 16,000 employees nationwide.
Buddy Selph, broker with Tommie Dawson Realty, said recently it was reasonable to expect a local Wawa.
“They're going into Pinellas, Pasco and Hillsborough counties so we're a logical extension of that market,” Selph told Hernando Today in a recent interview.
And Brooksville realtor Gary Schraut said Wawa prefers locations that are surrounded by plenty of residential communities.
The Spring Hill site fits that bill, with nearby Avalon, Trillium, Pristine Place and others.
In other business news:
A review team consisting of officials from county utility, engineering, building, fire and zoning departments went through the plans and identified several technical points, including: a comprehensive wildlife survey to determine the presence or absence of certain animals on the site; a traffic access analysis; sidewalk modifications and more detailed information on the building’s ability to withstand hurricane force winds.
The applicant will make the corrections to the plan and re-submit them to the county.
Plans call for one widescreen theater and 13 standard-sized auditoriums. The addition is expected to be about 35-feet high and 70-feet wide.