7-Eleven will make inroads in southern Delaware with a new convenience store and gas station planned for the south of Bridgeville, on the corner of the intersection with Route 18 (Cannon Road).
The project has been in the works for a couple of years, Town Manager Bethany DeBussy said, but was slowed up because of COVID. That wasn’t because the developer put a pause on projects or got cold feet during the economic chaos, as has happened with other construction during the pandemic, but because of a backlog of paperwork with the state.
“DelDOT is still trying to recover from everything, and it took until just recently that they finally got all that paperwork together,” DeBussy said. The preliminary work is now in the final stages, with a building permit application submitted to the town just days ago for approval.
The land where the gas station will sit is made up of two parcels on the northwest corner of the intersection, which the town has annexed. A small vacant house that sits on one of the parcels will be demolished, DeBussy said.
A traffic study submitted to the state in September of last year indicates the store will be about 4,000 square feet.
The project has all agency approvals and the developer is looking to start as soon as possible, Jonathan Falkowski of Becker Morgan, the engineering group that has been working on the project, said in an email. They are working on final details related to utility relocation or they would have already started, he said. The goal is to finish by spring 2022.
Southern Delaware is traditionally Royal Farms and Wawa country when it comes to gas stations. There are some 7-Elevens on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, including Salisbury, Ocean City and Denton, and a healthy cluster north of the canal in Delaware. Dover also has one.
There are pros and cons to development, DeBussy said, but it’s a boost to Bridgeville to get more commercial growth. “We can’t just be purely residential and we can’t be purely commercial, so there’s a healthy mix that has to happen there.”
The town has certainly grown rapidly on the residential side in recent years. Heritage Shores has added 752 homes to the town, according to Dorothy Harper of Brookfield Residential, which is developing the site. It’s a long way from finished, per the current plan — Harper said 1,790 homes remain to be built. Bridgeville had about 1,500 residents in 2000, but current estimates put the population at about 3,000, with much of that growth coming from Heritage Shores.
There’s also been other recent development on the south side of town with the relatively new townhomes of Linkside Village near the Food Lion. Right next door to that, a mix of retail and apartments is planned with construction slated to begin next year. The vision there is for two large retail buildings, a gas station, several smaller retail pad sites along Route 13 and possibly even a 100-room hotel. Behind that, connecting to Route 404, would be about 13 three-story apartment buildings, 342 or so units in all, and two clubhouses.