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No more hoagies, as abandoned Hazlet Wawa could get dramatically different use

By David P. Willis, Asbury Park Press,


HAZLET - An urgent care center is poised to take the place of the former Wawa on Route 36 at Poole Avenue, which has sat empty since a new convenience store was built nearby.

The township Land Use Board is set to hear a proposal by DeVimy Hazlet LLC on Thursday night to renovate the building for Hackensack Meridian Urgent Care.

It will be Hackensack Meridian's eighth urgent care center in Monmouth and Ocean counties. Others are in Eatontown, Freehold Township, Neptune, Brick, Lacey, Toms River and Jackson. A center in Ship Bottom is listed as temporarily closed. The Hazlet center is listed as coming this year on the company's website.

"Hackensack Meridian Health has proudly served the Hazlet and greater Bayshore communities for decades," the company said in a statement to What's Going There. "Our new urgent care center will ensure that local residents have greater access to high quality, compassionate care that meets their specific needs, no matter the day or time.”

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Wawa closed its old store at 1181 Route 36 after it opened a new convenience store with fuel pumps in June 2020 , building on the site of a former car wash across from the Airport Plaza shopping center.

Plans call for the renovation of the building's interior for use as medical offices, according to a letter from the township engineer discussing the proposal. Cosmetic changes to the outside of the building also are proposed.

"I think this is a great benefit to the town and surrounding areas, and will look a lot better than a vacant building on a prominent corner," said Robert Indig, managing partner of DeVimy Equities.

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New Jersey's largest health care companies are trying to making inroads in walk-in care at the Jersey Shore, a move to bring quality on-demand care and expand their network into local communities.

In January, large operator CityMD opened a new urgent care center on Route 35 in Middletown , taking a spot at the new Kings Commons shopping center next to ShopRite. Others are under construction on Route 35 in Eatontown , the site of a former beauty supply store, and on Route 70 in Brick .

In March 2022, Atlantic Health System, which partnered up with CentraState Healthcare System in Freehold Township, gobbled up Immediate Care , a network of seven urgent care centers in Central Jersey.

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In a partnership with Family First of Oakhurst and Toms River, RWJBarnabas Health added an urgent care center to the Anne Vogel Family Care & Wellness Center at Monmouth Mall in Eatontown .

David P. Willis, an award-winning business writer, has covered business and consumer news at the Asbury Park Press for more than 20 years. He writes's What's Going There and Press on Your Side columns and can be reached at Join his What's Going There page on Facebook for updates.

This article originally appeared on Asbury Park Press: No more hoagies, as abandoned Hazlet Wawa could get dramatically different use

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