Arby’s on West Broad is razed to make way for Wawa

The neon cowboy hat sign that accompanied the former Arby’s is also planned to be taken down. (Mike Platania photo)

More than three years in the making, work is underway on another West Broad Street Wawa.

The gas station and convenience store chain has begun construction on its new location at 5900 W. Broad St. in Henrico, just west of Willow Lawn.

Wawa has been planning the location since 2019 but work did not kick off until recent weeks with the demolition of the Arby’s restaurant that had stood on the site since the 1960s. Four other small office buildings behind the restaurant were also recently razed.

The 1.9-acre site is owned by a group including local developer Rob Lanphear, who confirmed that Wawa is indeed still headed to the site. Wawa spokespeople weren’t available for comment by press time Monday afternoon.

The Arby’s before its demolition. (BizSense file)

The longtime Arby’s cowboy hat sign fronting West Broad Street survived the early stages of demolition, but Lanphear said that it is also planned to come down. He said they’ve turned the site over to Wawa, and that the Pennsylvania-based chain is handling the restaurant’s demolition and sign’s removal.

Wawa is leasing the site and is planning to build a 6,000-square-foot store and six-pump gas station canopy. It’ll be Wawa’s 33rd location in the Richmond region and fourth along West Broad Street, per its website.

Plans show that the project is being designed by Cuhaci Peterson, an architecture firm based out of Wawa’s home state. Kimley-Horn is listed as the engineer.

Pollard & Bagby’s Tony Rolando represented the landlords in lease negotiations.

Following the closure of Arby’s West Broad location last year, the roast beef-centric chain now has 16 locations in the Richmond region, all of which are operated by local franchisee The Restaurant Co. In addition to the local Arby’s, The Restaurant Co. also used to own Can Can Brasserie in Carytown until its 2020 sale to brothers Paul and John Kincaid.

Meanwhile, less than a mile to the east of the future Wawa, work is a bit further along on the first Shake Shack coming to the Richmond region. Metal framing is now up at 5400 W. Broad St., where the New York-based burger chain is planning to open a location as part of Sauer Properties’ larger redevelopment of the Willow Place shopping center.

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Ramone Antonio
Ramone Antonio
27 days ago

Thats great news for the Willow Lawn area! Hopefully, Wawa can continue to grow towards Downtown RVA and the Old Manchester area across Downtown. They are really needed in those areas as well

Craig Davis
Craig Davis
27 days ago

hate to see that sign go. That Arby’s was hilariously old school – bathrooms outside, no drive thru…

Zach Rugar
Zach Rugar
27 days ago
Reply to  Craig Davis

Lol, that’s kinda neat. Sucks they couldn’t force protection on the sign and make Wawa use that. Would have been cool to see what Wawa could have come up with by not having your normal and bland Wawa signage.

Michael Morgan-Dodson
Michael Morgan-Dodson
26 days ago
Reply to  Craig Davis

It had a drive thru; they just stood outside by message board, took the orders inside, and then bought the food out. It was a covid adaptation that was much appreciated during the summer 2020!

Brian Glass
Brian Glass
27 days ago

WaWa is a shrewd company. This location is close to their Staples Mill location. They most probably consider this a different market .When completed they will have 2 locations on West Broad Street. That will effectively place one on each side of the Sheets at Broad Street, near Glenside.

Robbie Asplund
Robbie Asplund
27 days ago
Reply to  Brian Glass

Don’t forget that they’ve had a closer one at Arthur Ashe and Robin Hood for awhile now, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they kept eking out space for additional locations within the city limits.

Bruce Milam
Bruce Milam
26 days ago
Reply to  Brian Glass

They are outflanking Sheetz and protecting territory from Royal Farm stores which are hitting the area hard for locations. It’ll be a renewed battle of the C Stores.

Charles Frankenhoff
Charles Frankenhoff
25 days ago
Reply to  Bruce Milam

Very interesting. Would you say Wawa is actively picking up sites just to block Sheetz and Royal Farm these days? I wonder if the Manchester Wawa will come back on the table?

Paul D. Mashack
Paul D. Mashack
27 days ago

Hmmm…. there’s already a Wawa about a mile away on Bethelam and Staples Mills.

Rob Hoffmann
Rob Hoffmann
26 days ago

I’m sure I’ve read that Wawa wants to keep the hat and use it as part of its own signage. I hope they haven’t changed their minds.