West Point, PA
 Proposed Wawa at Kneedler's

 
 
In the Fall of 2016, developer Bruce Goodman of Goodman Properties presented public plans to demolish the Country Bride and Gent and the adjacent Sumney West Tavern and build a Wawa fuel station (sometimes called a "Super Wawa") in their place.

Goodman created a Limited License Corporation named "Provco Pinegood Sumneytown" for this purpose.

 
The Sumney West Tavern. The original part of the building was built in 1900. It now has several additions.
 
In 1903 a "public house" and hotel was opened at Kneedler's by Arnold Becker. He named it the Gwynedd Hotel. Though the exact location is uncertain, it may have been in this building at 1610 West Point Pike.
 
The Country Bride and Gent bridal salon, opened in 1995. This building was the Big Pixie restaurant in the 1960s.
708 Sumneytown Pike.

The two properties, at the intersection of West Point Pike and Sumneytown Pike, are outlined here.

 
Zooming out, West Point Village is lower left. The huge "city" is the pharmaceutical company, Merck & Co.

 

The request for a Super Wawa was denied due to traffic concerns.

 

 
Several public hearings were held during 2017 before the township commissioners voted down one version of the plans in July, and a revised version that November. The developer then created a misleading website titled “Bring Wawa to Upper Gwynedd” and challenged the denial in court.
 
Opening screen of the Goodman website. The deceitful message fails to mention there already is a Wawa in Upper Gwynedd. The site claims that Merck & Co. and Upper Gwynedd Township conspired "behind closed doors" to interfere with the construction of the Wawa.

On the website you can "get involved" and sign a "petition" saying you support the construction of the Wawa. After a year there are "nearly 450 votes," Did the employees of Goodman Properties and the friends and family members of Bruce Goodman vote?

You cannot vote to oppose the Wawa and you cannot leave a comment without casting a positive vote.

From the perspective of someone living in the vicinity of West Point or North Wales, and of the thousands of commuters who pass by this location every day, here are some obvious facts:

1. There is a Sunoco gas station directly across the street.
2. There is a proposed Royal Farms gas station and several stores diagonally opposite the Sumney Tavern.
3. The Park Place Diner is directly across the street.
4. There is a Wawa a mile south in North Wales.
5. There is a another Wawa a mile north at Sumneytown Pike and Valley Forge Road.
6. The West Point Deli and Gulf gas station are 2200 feet north of the Country Bride and Gent.
7. At Sumneytown Pike and Broad Street there is a BP gas station that sells fuel and snacks.
8. Traffic, though congested during rush hour, flows smoothly at the intersection of West Point Pike and Sumneytown Pike.

There is no shortage of fuel or sustenance for anyone motoring through the area.

Now envision a Wawa where the Sumney Tavern is located and it is rush hour. Once you entered the parking lot on West Point Pike traveling east, dodging through the cars coming in the other direction, how would get out again? The traffic would be backed up to the traffic signal at Sumneytown Pike. (This was not much of a problem for the tavern, as the daily turnover of customers was slow and the tavern didn't open till 11AM.)

You would have to exit going west on West Point Pike and make a U-turn. This fact is one of the main concerns of the township.

If you were southbound on Sumneytown Pike and entered the Wawa parking lot, how would you be able to get out again and proceed southbound? The traffic would be backed up to the traffic signal on West Point Pike. If you were northbound on Sumneytown Pike and crossed the southbound lanes to enter the Wawa parking lot, how would you exit and once again cross the southbound lanes and continue northbound?

The parking lot would become a log jam of cars and pickup trucks trying to exit. One car crash at this busy intersection would incapacitate automobile traffic for miles in all directions.

Therefore, the proposal by Provco Pinegood Sumneytown LLC was denied by the township.


 
Bruce Goodman wrote this letter to the Upper Gwynedd Board of Commissioners in April of 2018. In the letter he claims the township spent hundreds of thousands of tax dollars to oppose him. He then lists ways he feels the money could have been spent otherwise, including for road salt and fire hydrant maintenance. He states the money should be returned to the taxpayers. Please click on the letter to read it.
  
The response from the Upper Gwynedd Board of Commissioners to Goodman's "ill-conceived plan," including the fact that they already have 550 tons of road salt. The Wawa would violate over 30 of the township's laws. Please click on the letter to read the response.
  

On Tuesday, June 19, 2018 the Sumney West Tavern closed without warning. (See the newspaper article on the next page.) The owners, John Gawthrop and Richard Abbott, informed their employees the day before that they were no longer employed.

Trish and Ed Burkholder, of The Country Bride and Gent, wrote on their website, "We were very surprised and saddened to hear about our neighbor, the Sumney West Tavern, closing."

Gawthrop and Abbott had sold The Sumney to Goodman Properties for $1,550,000. The Burkholders were so "surprised and saddened" that they sold out to the same developer for $1,825,000. They made the announcement on July 9, after Goodman had already acquired The Country Bride and Gent. Settlement for both properties was on the same day, July 9.

Why did Bruce Goodman spend almost three and a half million dollars to acquire these properties if his proposal to build a Super Wawa on the site has been denied twice?

Any updates on the situation will be posted on this site.
 

 
Inside the Sumney West Tavern. People want their pictures back. Why didn't Goodman leave it open??