DADE CITY — Nobody seems to know how a sign announcing the impending arrival of a Wawa convenience store staked a spot on the northwest corner of U.S. 301 and Clinton Avenue.
This much is for sure, though: There won't be anyone going gaga for Wawa in Dade City anytime soon.
"We are not building there," said Wawa spokeswoman Laura Bruce. "We don't know how the sign got there, but we are removing it."
The sign, coupled with the Pennsylvania-based company's aggressive expansion this year into the Tampa Bay area, seemed to lend credence to the possibility of the brand's Dade City debut. There's also the presence of heavy machinery on the site, razing a dilapidated building and removing debris.
That work isn't to make way for a new business, said Tim Moore, chief building official for Pasco County.
"The property will be a part of the Clinton Avenue widening," said Moore. "Much of that site will be used as a retention pond."
The Wawa chain has a loyal fan base in the northeast, where it opened its first store in 1964. Known for low-priced gas and made-to-order hoagies, Wawas are all over New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland and Virginia. Three opened in west Pasco earlier this year, part of a plan to add 24 to the region by the end of 2014 and 100 to central Florida in the next five years.
Whether any of those future stores will end up in east Pasco can't be predicted, but Bruce pointed to the company's web site — wawa.com — as the best way to stay abreast of pending store openings and locations.