In Delaware on July 11, 2019, twelve downtown revitalization projects in Milford, Smyrna and Wilmington were selected to receive funding through the state’s Downtown Development Districts (DDD) program, with $5.5 million in rebates leveraging $103 million in total investment.
Established in May 2014, the DDD program was created to spur private capital investment in commercial business districts and other neighborhoods; stimulate job growth and improve the commercial vitality of the state’s cities and towns; and help build a stable community of long-term residents in downtowns and other neighborhoods.
Since the first reservation awards in April 2015, the DDD program has been a catalyst for private investment in Delaware’s downtowns. With these new reservation awards, $31.6 million in rebates through the program has leveraged $597 million in private investment in designated downtown districts in all three counties.
“This latest round of Downtown Development Districts funding will continue our commitment to revitalizing our downtown business districts and surrounding neighborhoods,” said Governor John Carney. “These investments are a vital tool in our economic development toolbox and will have a long-term impact on these communities.”
“DSHA is pleased to support these new projects that will renovate empty and vacant buildings, create homes, and bring businesses and jobs to our downtowns,” said Anas Ben Addi, Director of the Delaware State Housing Authority. “Community development is central to our mission, and we are encouraged by the continued strong interest in the Downtown Development District program in all eight districts.”
Investments eligible for DDD rebate funds include capital investments on rehabilitation, expansion or new construction for commercial, industrial, residential or mixed-use buildings within the district boundaries. Rebates are issued after the project is completed. Qualified applicants include property owners, tenants, for-profit developers, nonprofit organizations, businesses and homeowners.
Using the DDD large project reservation award, investors Randy Dawson and Kaushik Shah plan to renovate and repurpose the former Metal Masters/Harris Manufacturing plant located at 655 Glenwood Avenue in Smyrna.
At more than 170,000 square feet, the building will be repurposed for warehousing, recreational and light manufacturing use, and the investors also plan to create a farmers’ market that will provide approximately 72,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space for tenants to sell merchandise, food, crafts, and more. “The building we are renovating has been vacant and neglected for a number of years. This Downtown Development Districts reservation award will allow us the opportunity to bring the site back to life in a meaningful way for the residents of Smyrna,” Shah said.
In Milford, investor and business owner Lisa Johnson plans to complete extensive renovations of a restaurant building in the Riverwalk Center at 249 NE Front Street. The restaurant will include a bar and areas for general and fine dining as well as event spaces for catered meetings or parties. Johnson currently operates a private events business. “We are excited to be receiving this reservation award from the Downtown Development Districts program. This award will allow us to expand upon our growing business in Milford and gives us the opportunity to provide the residents of the city with a new dining option.”
DDD Rebate Large Project Reservation Award Details:
- Benvenuto LLC plans to use a DDD large project reservation award for extensive renovations of the restaurant building at 249 NE Front Street. Renovations will consist of removing and opening up walls, removing carpeting, rewiring the building, expanding the restrooms for ADA compliance, building new storage areas, replacing walls, ceiling tiles and lighting and updating the alarm system and security cameras. The investors plan to open a restaurant in the building later this year.
- Mispillion Street Partners LLC plans to construct four 12-unit condominium buildings (48 total units) to be situated along the Mispillion River at 401 Mispillion Street. This will be new construction on a vacant lot, and units will consist of two and three bedroom options available for renters or buyers. Each unit will have a panoramic view of the Mispillion River and be a short walk to the downtown shopping district.
- Shadaw Enterprises LLC plans to completely restore and fit out the former Metal Masters/Harris Manufacturing plant located at 655 Glenwood Avenue. The building is vacant and neglected and in need of significant renovations including demolition of walls and structures, roof replacement and repairs, new insulation, a new electrical distribution system, new plumbing and HVAC systems and fire alarm, surveillance and technology wiring throughout the building. Upon completion of renovation work, the building will be repurposed for warehousing, recreational and light manufacturing use, and the investors also plan to create a farmers’ market that will provide approximately 72,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space for tenants to sell merchandise, food, crafts, and other items.
- 9th and Tatnall LLC plans to construct a new building housing 34 apartment units and two ground floor retail spaces on the southeastern corner of North Tatnall Street and West 9th Street. The investor has assembled seven parcels (226 West 9th Street, 836, 838, 840, 842 and 844 North Tatnall Street and 11 Girard Street) with the plan to demolish a fire-damaged central portion of one of the consolidated parcels and part of a garage complex facing onto Girard Street in order to construct the new building. The project will include a mix of three-story historic buildings and a five-story newly constructed building slotted in between.
- 105 West 7th LLC plans to demolish three existing vacant buildings (103, 105 and 109 West 7th Street) and construct a new building containing 30 market-rate multifamily units with six units on each of five floors.
- 210 Market Cooper LLC plans to create a mixed-use, ground-up development on the 200 block of N. Market Street. The project will consist of the demolition (some facades exempted) of the existing structures at 206, 210, 212, 214 and 216 N. Market St. as well as 221 and 225 N. King Street. The development will include 90 market-rate apartment units as well as ground floor retail space and parking.
- 627 Market LLC plans to fit-out the retail space at 627 N. Market Street for a modern Chinese food concept restaurant called Tom’s Dim Sum. The investor previously used a DDD reservation for the renovation of the apartments and general work done on the façade of the building.
- 901 Market Associates LLC plans to renovate the Market Tower Building at 901 N. Market Street to create studio, one and two bedroom apartments totaling 68 units over 11 floors. Floors one through three will be renovated into new functional commercial and retail space totaling over 16,000 square feet.
- BPG Real Estate Services LLC plans to renovate the existing retail space at 838 N. Market Street in order to fit out the space for the installation of a bank branch at the site. The project will also include substantial work on the exterior of the building in order to create an appropriate entrance and signage for the branch.
- Quaker Arts LLC plans to upgrade four existing buildings (708-710, 801, 816 and 822 West Street) into 53 apartments with a preference for artists. The four existing buildings will be converted into affordable housing for individuals and families with incomes ranging between 30 and 80 percent of Area Median Income. The units will range in size from efficiencies to three-bedroom units as well as six units set aside for special needs populations. Building amenities will include community and meeting rooms, music rooms, a fitness studio, computer lab and communal laundry facilities.
- The Mill – Wilmington LLC plans to further grow The Mill co-working space located within the Nemours Building at 1007 N. Orange Street by 10,000 additional square feet. The current space will be rehabbed to meet the needs of the project.
- The Warner 927 LLC plans to renovate the building at the corner of 10th and Orange Streets. The property is a multifamily mixed-use building that was constructed in 1923. The building includes two ground floor commercial spaces, four residential units and two underutilized units that will be converted to residential. The majority of the renovation work will occur in the six residential units. Renovation work will include new bathrooms, kitchens, HVAC, painting, floorcovering, roof and façade. One of the ground floor commercial spaces will be redeveloped for a new restaurant concept.
Photo of Wilmington via Adobe Stock.