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    Wawa Wants New Philly Flagship Store Ready for Pope's Visit

    Retailer eyes September opening for Center City site.

    PHILADELPHIA — Wawa Inc. is striving to have its new flagship store in Center City open when important visitors come to the City of Brotherly Love in September.

    The convenience store retailer originally planned for the store to open by Thanksgiving. However, the retail brokerage firm representing Wawa told the Philadelphia Business Journal the retailer wants to open in time for the World Meeting of Families.

    "They've targeted an opening date and are rushing to open prior to the pope's visit," said Larry Steinberg, senior vice president of CBRE, the retail brokerage firm representing Wawa in its Philadelphia expansion program.

    Kevin McClernon is the lead broker who is working along with Steinberg, the news outlet added.

    The World Meeting of Families, the world's largest Catholic gathering of families, will be held during the week of Sept. 22-27 in Philadelphia. Pope Francis is attending this year's event — his first visit to the United States. Although the details of the Papal Visit have not yet been confirmed, he is expected to be there Sept. 26-27 for the Festival of Families and Papal Mass. 

    The newest Wawa store will stand at South Broad and Walnut streets. The convenience store will be the first Wawa with indoor seating, as CSNews Online previously reported.

    Lori Burce, spokeswoman for Wawa, told the Philadelphia Business Journal the retailer will release an exact opening date once construction begins this summer.  

    "Wawa would be ecstatic if they could open for the pope's visit," Steinberg said, "but reality is that getting it open by then is very difficult."

    Pennsylvania-based Wawa operates more than 690 convenience stores, including 420 offering gasoline, in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia and Florida.

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