Sheetz coming to city

Published 9:02 pm Thursday, June 14, 2012

Sheetz is coming to Washington, according to a company spokesman.

“That is 100-percent correct,” said Jamie Gerhart, a site-selection supervisor for Sheetz, an upscale convenience store/fast-food restaurant establishment, during a brief interview.

The Sheetz complex would be located at the southwestern corner of the intersection of West Fifth Street and Clark’s Neck Road, according to plans filed with the city and state departments.

“We have our special-use permit, I believe is what they call it,” Gerhart said. “So, we have gone through (the Planning Board). That was back in January. We have our site plan approved. … We have actually closed on the property.”

Gerhart said the company is preparing to begin demolition work on the site so construction could start later this year. A house on the property needs to be removed, he said.

“If I had to tell you now, I’d say mid-August, mid- to late August,” he said when asked when construction on the project might start. “We have to get our building plans approved, so you’re not going to see a sign out there saying ‘Coming to town’ because we don’t like to get ahead of ourselves. We’ve started that process. We need to award it to a contractor. We need to complete the paperwork with the city. We’re not at the goal line yet, but it’s still a very active project for us.”

When it comes to food customers, Sheetz likely will have some competition in the form of new restaurants in the coming months.

“I’ve said this a lot. We’ve talked to a lot of different folks,” said John Rodman, director of the city’s Planning and Development Department. “Probably four or five years ago, we had a lot of conversations with a lot of people. When the economy started going down hill, a lot of those conversations ended. Now, those conversations are starting to pick back up.”

A Hardee’s will be located on U.S. Highway 264 on the west side of the city.

Dunkin’ Donuts, Waffle House and Cook-Out are looking at locating in the city, Rodman said. Those chains have received approval of their site plans, but they have yet to obtain building permits and other approvals for their proposed projects to proceed, he noted. Dunkin’ Donuts need to submit construction plans and stormwater-management plans before its projects can move forward, Rodman said.

“Waffle House has submitted a preliminary site plan. They got a variance,” Rodman said.

The Waffle House site is the grassy, triangle-shaped area along Carolina Avenue and in front of the Days Inn rooms that face eastward.

Rodman also noted that downtown Washington is in line for three restaurants. On the Waterfront is going into the former Pirates Grill and Pub site at Harding Square. The former Bank of Washington building is being targeted for a restaurant. Old City Hall is in line to house a restaurant, too, Rodman said.

“I truly believe all these other places are good businesses, but I think Sheetz is going to be sort of a catalyst. … Dunkin’ Donuts and all those folks are great places. I’m glad they’re coming and they’re fine businesses. I just think when they see Sheetz doing some site work, I think that’s going to be a good jump start,” Rodman said.

About Mike Voss

Mike Voss is the contributing editor at the Washington Daily News. He has a daughter and four grandchildren. Except for nearly six years he worked at the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va., in the early to mid-1990s, he has been at the Daily News since April 1986.
Journalism awards:
• Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service, 1990.
• Society of Professional Journalists: Sigma Delta Chi Award, Bronze Medallion.
• Associated Press Managing Editors’ Public Service Award.
• Investigative Reporters & Editors’ Award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Public Service Award, 1989.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Investigative Reporting, 1990.
All those were for the articles he and Betty Gray wrote about the city’s contaminated water system in 1989-1990.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Investigative Reporting, 1991.
• North Carolina Press Association, Third Place, General News Reporting, 2005.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Lighter Columns, 2006.
Recently learned he will receive another award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Lighter Columns, 2010.
4. Lectured at or served on seminar panels at journalism schools at UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Maryland, Columbia University, Mary Washington University and Francis Marion University.

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