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Old October 31st, 2007, 06:53 PM   #21
xzmattzx
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I added a "Master Plans" section in the list of projects. The "Master Plans" section will cover ideas that span multiple investors, builders, and projects.

Under "Master Plans", I added two plans that have been announced. One is to transform Market Street, the section of Market Street between 2nd and about 6th Streets in particular, into a design district, with several design stores and offices. The other announcement is to transform 9th Street, between Orange and Shipley Streets, into a fashion district, with several retail stores focusing on ladies' fashion.

I also added renderings of the Lippincott renovation and the Russell W. Peterson Urban Wildlife Refuge. The Urban Wildlife Refuge will finally see some activity after first being proposed over 11 years ago.
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Old November 4th, 2007, 11:22 PM   #22
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Wilmington's skyline is changing dramatically. Market street is getting fancier.

But I am afraid, that all the bad goons from Christian Mall are going to open up shops there and charge high prices for cheap Made in China goods.

BTW, nothing that has a Made in China tag, gets into my house. We are def. CHINA FREE.
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Old November 7th, 2007, 05:22 AM   #23
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I added alot of new stuff to the list of projects, most notably several Market Street things going on right now, as well as the Wilmington Hospital expansion that was approved and will be announced tomorrow.

A lot of the new stuff I added is small, but that's fine. The list keeps getting bigger and bigger.

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Originally Posted by danny302 View Post
Wilmington's skyline is changing dramatically. Market street is getting fancier.

But I am afraid, that all the bad goons from Christian Mall are going to open up shops there and charge high prices for cheap Made in China goods.

BTW, nothing that has a Made in China tag, gets into my house. We are def. CHINA FREE.
I wouldn't worry about pawners moving from Christiana Mall to Market Street. Market Street already has that kind of stuff, such as the wig shops, pawn shops, and check-cashing shops. Market Street can only get better.
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Old November 8th, 2007, 05:41 AM   #24
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Here is the article on the Wilmington Hospital expansion. I added the rendering and map to the front page.

Quote:
Wilmington Hospital announces expansion
Five-year, $205 million project will add dozens of new beds and up to 600 jobs


Christiana Care Health System released details Tuesday of a wide-reaching expansion of Wilmington Hospital that will double the size of its emergency room, add hospital beds and create as many as 600 new jobs in the next five years.

The $205 million expansion and renovation will include a new 61,000-square-foot medical office building and a nine-story tower with 13 new operating-room suites, replacing the hospital's 10 aging suites.

The tower also will include 30 new patient beds, an intensive care unit and the capacity to add up to 90 additional beds. The hospital, which now has 214 beds, also plans to add 30 beds in the existing wing over the next 18 months.

The five-year project, which Dr. Robert Laskowski, Christiana Care's president and chief operating officer, called "transformative," will add needed space to the urban hospital's overtaxed emergency room, which had more than 47,000 patient visits last year.

That was second in the state only to Christiana Hospital's approximately 105,000 emergency room visits.

"The very simple message is that this is the right thing to do for the city of Wilmington, for the state of Delaware and for the region," Laskowski said in an interview Tuesday.

The project, which was approved by Christiana's board late Monday, is the largest since Laskowski became Christiana's top executive in 2003.

When completed, the project will add 337,000 square feet of space to the Wilmington campus, bringing the total to more than 1 million square feet.

The project also calls for redesigning the main entrance and creating a separate emergency room entrance on Washington Street. The hospital also plans to reconfigure Jefferson Street, aiming for easier patient and visitor access.

"We envision it as being transformative of health care in Wilmington and in the region," Laskowski said.

The expansion also could be good for Christiana Care's bottom line.

The project will allow Delaware's largest hospital network to expand its popular joint-replacement program at Wilmington Hospital. Programs for replacing aging knees and hips are potent moneymakers and hospitals compete vigorously for patients, virtually all of whom are covered by private insurance or Medicare.

Such an expansion better positions the hospital to attract such patients, who might otherwise travel to the University of Pennsylvania hospitals or Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia.

When completed, the project also will boost hospital employment by as many as 600 jobs, Laskowski said, adding to the hospital's work force of 1,670.

In addition to city building permits, the plan still needs approval by the Delaware Health Resources Board, which has the right to weigh in on health care projects.

"It sounds very, very positive for the city of Wilmington," said Lt. Gov. John Carney, who chairs the Delaware Health Care Commission. "It will mean a lot of jobs at the campus, and more activities and programs."

Urban expansion uncommon

While hospitals around the country have been expanding in affluent suburbs, hospital expansions in urban neighborhoods are less common, said Alwyn Cassel, a spokeswoman for the Center for Studying Health Systems Change, a nonpartisan policy research group in Washington.

But hospitals are being spurred to expand emergency departments, especially in urban areas, where crowding and long wait times have become a problem.

"Emergency departments have become bottlenecks because there aren't an adequate number of beds for patients that are going to be admitted," Cassel said. "So designing and making an emergency department more functional is certainly something you're going to see around the country."

The project is also likely to raise the profile of Wilmington Hospital, said Dr. Edward Sobel, a Wilmington family practice doctor and a former, longtime Christiana Care board member.

"I think it's going to be great for the community," said Sobel, who retired from the board after Monday's meeting upon completing the board's limit of three terms. "The hospital, to some degree, has always been looked at as a stepchild to Christiana [hospital], but the people who work there do a great job and this will make people aware of the good things that are going on at the hospital."

The timing of the expansion also is important because it comes as Wilmington adds hundreds of new housing units along the Riverfront, boosting demand for the hospital's services, Sobel said.

Impact on St. Francis unclear

It's unclear what impact, if any, Wilmington Hospital's planned expansion would have on St. Francis Hospital, a longtime fixture on Wilmington's west side.

"Without additional details, we are unable to comment at this time," said Jenifer Harris, a St. Francis spokeswoman.

St. Francis, which posted a $4.1 million loss in 2006, has introduced new programs and equipment, including a bariatric surgery weight-loss program and wound-care center, and Delaware's first daVinci surgical robot to attract patients.

All of Wilmington Hospital's new beds will be in single-patient rooms, which have been a popular addition for hospitals around the country because of patient preferences and to reduce the spread of antibiotic-resistant infectious diseases.

Parsippany, N.J.-based Skanska USA Building Inc. will be the construction manager on the project, and Wilmot/Sanz Inc., which is based in Gaithersburg, Md., will be the architect.

Both companies have worked on major projects for Christiana Care in the past, including the Bank of America Pavilion, which opened on the campus near Stanton in 2006 and houses Christiana Care's Center for Heart & Vascular Health.

Christiana Care Health System celebrated the opening of its new cardiac care center at its facility near Stanton in October 2006.


Dr. Robert Laskowski became Christiana Care's president and chief operating officer in 2003.




An artist's rendering shows what the expanded Wilmington Hospital will look like.

Quote:
HIGHLIGHTS

Construction is expected to begin next year and is expected to add 337,000 square feet to the hospital campus, bringing the total square footage to more than one million (not including the parking garage).

• More than 62,000 square feet of existing hospital space will be renovated.

• As many as 594 new jobs could be added to the Wilmington Hospital campus, which currently employs 1,670 people.

• A nine-story tower including 13 operating-room suites will replace the 10 existing operating rooms.

• Thirty new patient beds and an Intensive Care Unit will be added, along with the capacity to add up to 90 additional patient beds.

• A 61,000-square-foot medical office building will include 10,000 square feet of renovated space, plus 51,000 square feet of new construction.

• Size of the Emergency Department will be doubled.

• The hospital's front entrance and Jefferson Street approach will be redesigned for easier patient and visitor access to the campus
http://www.delawareonline.com/apps/p...0377/1006/NEWS
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Old November 9th, 2007, 05:02 PM   #25
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Good work Matt. Way to get this going and put Wilmington on everyone's radar.
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Old November 14th, 2007, 05:24 PM   #26
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I added the street construction into a grid pattern under "Master Plans". This is going on down at the Riverfront, specifically in the area around and south of Justison Landing. The grid pattern is being applied to provide a true urban feel to the Riverfront area.
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Old December 1st, 2007, 04:52 AM   #27
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Here's an article from this past Sunday on the upcoming opening of the River Tower.

Quote:
Wilmington buildup reaches new heights
Retail's established, but some see River Tower residences as true sign of success


Through the history of Wilmington's Riverfront ambitions, Delawareans have seen restaurants open, offices sprout up, even a ballpark and shopping center rise from the dirt.

Recently, though, a different sort of reality has begun to coalesce.

With this fall's ribbon cutting of the 25-story River Tower condos, the city has reached a landmark moment in modern residential redevelopment, bringing a firmer conviction of the area's potential, along with some lingering uncertainty about how this new "neighborhood" will ultimately fit into the city's urban fabric.

While there's no doubt the riverfront is beginning to boast a different feel, a sagging housing market has hit just as residential construction gathers momentum. The citizens of this new neighborhood say they're finding a lifestyle that boasts its own conveniences, but still awaits a more comprehensive assortment of amenities.

"It's a great place to be. It's like a new city," said Tom Clarke, a suburban professional who grew weary of the drudgeries of suburban life and decided to buy a River Tower condo with wife Beth. "There's just so much momentum there. There's an excitement. You can feel it."

The residential fortunes of the Riverfront have long been linked to its success, so the progress of recent months heartened people like Preservation Initiatives' Don Meginley, who is working to bring businesses into the Lower Market district just up from the Riverfront.

"The residential really is dramatic in what it can do to a retail/mixed-use development," he said. "That's the part that's been missing here for a long time."

In the meantime, the coming months will bring a growing core of homes and businesses to the area. Justison Landing, a $450 million development of commercial and residential buildings on the river's north side, is now under construction and is expected to bring another 700 town homes, apartments and condos to the market. On the river's south side, a shopping center with a ShopRite supermarket is expected to be completed next year.

"That's astounding that in that development we'll have 750 people living there within the next few months," said Rob Buccini, a principal of the Buccini/Pollin Group, developers of Christina Landing and Justison Landing. "It feels like it's cohesive now."

The River Tower itself, which includes 183 units, marks the completion of the $225 million Christina Landing project, which has been four years in the making. The other two elements of Christina Landing -- a 63-unit townhome section and a 173-unit apartment tower -- are nearly fully occupied.

"The residential is the strong component now of the Riverfront development," said city Councilman Kevin F. Kelley Sr., whose district includes much of the riverfront. "It's no longer the retail, as it once was."

In September alone, $3.6 million worth of real estate in the River Tower was sold, Buccini said.

"I think the reason is, there is no product like this in Delaware," he said. "What it shows is there's no overbuilding in our sector."

Preservation Initiatives is also confident that reverberations from the real estate market shouldn't be too severe. "We're not seeing that," Meginley said. "Our lenders are very bullish on Wilmington and they're very bullish on the concept of mixed-use in Wilmington."'

The Tower's occupancy will rise dramatically through winter as deals are finalized and moves are arranged. With Christina Landing now completed, the project stands as proof "that there's a market in Wilmington for an urban lifestyle,"

said Michael Purzycki, executive director of the Riverfront Development Corp., the state-supported company charged with redeveloping Wilmington's waterfront. It's no surprise that the Riverfront's rise in residential occupancy lagged the development of restaurants and stores, he said.

"Residential is a follower, not a leader," he said. "Residential shows up after all the amenities are there."

Some of those amenities are not there yet -- a trolley to downtown, more upscale restaurants -- but others have been around for decades. The old train station across from the Tower was a big part of the draw for semi-retired suburbanites Bob and Amira Silber -- that and a lack of household chores.

"We're empty nesters," said Bob Silber, who expected to move into the Tower this month. "So we said we want to have a turnkey operation. ... Owning a house and a lawn and a snowblower, we're done with that."

Condos once were regarded as a hard sell in this city, but because these are new, they may appeal to people who don't want to face the assessments that may come along with the purchase of an older condo, said Stephen Mottola, sales director for Patterson Schwartz who's leading Tower real estate sales.

"There hasn't been a new condo in a long time in the city of Wilmington," Rob Buccini said. The Tower's backers believe changing demographics and modern lifestyle preferences will help give these a new appeal, despite a softer real estate market.

"In the short term, I think it's going to be a little tough filling it up until people sell their existing homes," Clark said.

The developers' target market includes young childless couples, single professionals, empty nesters, and even commuters to New York and Philadelphia, said Robin Snyder, a Realtor with the Mottola Group.

"The building has got great momentum," Mottola said. "We're up and running."

"You're not just selling square footage, you're selling a lifestyle," said Amber Kealey, spokeswoman for Buccini/Pollin.

That's not to say such a lifestyle is an easy sell to all potential customers. The area has been noted for the echoes of its gritty industrial past, and views along the Christina on some days can be more murky than magnificent. Potential customers need to have a certain pioneering spirit, along with a willingness to leave behind some of their possession-cluttered lives, Mottola said.

"The concern is downsizing," Mottola said. " 'Where do I put my stuff?' "

Residents say that while there's surely potential for the kind of warm vitality that more people living in the area will bring, this new neighborhood doesn't have all that much of it at this point.

"No, not yet," Clarke said. "There's still a ways to go. ... It's just a matter of time."

Rob Buccini and others behind the project believe the overall strengths of the area -- a train station and a growing core of restaurants -- will help pull it through any market woes. "Every home that we have built has sold in the last five years prior to product completion," he said.

Still, along with the satisfaction, there's a hint of relief in Buccini's tone these days now that Christina Landing is done.

"I thought it would take my entire career to get along as far as we've done," Buccini said.

The 25-story River Tower condos, which opened earlier this month, overlook other condos near Wilmington's Riverfront that are already nearly fully occupied. Developers say 750 people will be living on the Riverfront within the next few months.


Those living in the penthouse of the River Tower condos will have a view of the whole city. A pool and hot tub sit on the roof of a nearby condo.

http://www.delawareonline.com/apps/p...711250313/1003
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Old December 13th, 2007, 03:48 PM   #28
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Huge news in the News Journal this morning. Of course, we all already knew about this ambitious pan, but the Queen Theatre news is a surprise to me, and we get to see just what BPG plans on doing.

It's official, Market Street is the next big thing.

Quote:
Belief in city brings $169 million investment
Buccini/Pollin Group is planting 'big seed' projects along downtown Wilmington's main thoroughfare


WILMINGTON -- Chris and Rob Buccini, whose Buccini/Pollin Group has spent more than $1 billion this decade revitalizing downtown Wilmington and its Christina Riverfront, are spending another $169 million to buy and renovate properties on North Market Street connecting the two areas.

The project includes a new performing arts center in the old Queen Theatre, a hotel, restaurants, bars and small businesses. Above them, students and entry-level young professionals will live in apartments.

The Buccinis consider Market Street the spine connecting residents in their Christina Landing development on the Riverfront and in their Brandywine and Nemours buildings near Rodney Square.

They have spent $29 million to buy 25 properties on North Market between Second and Ninth streets, with plans to purchase five more. They will then spend $140 million on renovations. The work should be done in less than two years.

Chris Buccini said developers can't make the kind of impact that could really change an environment by buying two or three properties. "We're trying to plant two or three big seeds on each block," he said. "We hope they will supplement the businesses that are already thriving here and spur other developers to fill in the rest of the blanks."

There will be 200 apartments, 106,000 square feet of retail space and 36,000 square feet of office space in the properties the developers acquired. Negotiations with retailers and companies are taking place now.

The plans are the biggest attempt to bring life to downtown Market Street since Mayor Thomas C. Maloney's administration closed the street to vehicular traffic from Fourth to 10th streets in 1974. Suburban shopping malls started to drain customers from the city's businesses in the 1970s. Since 1990, various parts of the street have been opened and closed to vehicles. Mayor James M. Baker began opening the street to two-way traffic in 2002.

Steve Bailey, the executive director of the Grand Opera House, has eased his initial concerns about the performing arts center at the Queen, which has been unused since the 1970s. The Grand seats about 1,200 people, while the renovated Queen will have a dance floor and hold about 750. Bailey expects to book different acts than the Queen will, and says there is room for both venues.

"We did and do have concerns, but they're going to be doing this, so the way you deal with that is by getting with the program," he said. "To their credit, the Buccinis came to us to start a dialogue. Once we talked, it's clear that they are going to be able to have smaller, fast-paced, high-energy shows that wouldn't be appropriate for the Grand. That's why we support it."

Other properties involved include the old Woolworth's building, now Happy Harry's, at Ninth and Market, the former 4W5 Cafe at Fifth and Market and the former China Palace restaurant in the 800 block of Market. The former WSFS Bank building at Ninth and Market will become a 136-room Starwood Hotel & Resorts.

At half of these properties, the ground floors were vacant. Most of the upstairs sections were vacant and in disrepair.

Preservation Initiatives, the Ingerman Group and Pettinaro Construction also have downtown projects in the works.

The Buccinis first thought that if they developed each end of Market Street, others would come in and develop the middle. When no one did, they decided to do it themselves and began acquiring the properties.

Tight space and historic preservation regulations reduce profit margins and make the work unattractive to many developers, Rob Buccini said. Chris Buccini calls the Market Street initiative the company's "not-for-profit division," done to support the company's large investments around Rodney Square and on the Riverfront.

"And we believe in Wilmington," Chris Buccini said. "We have the ability to buy properties in bulk and I think we see Wilmington's potential when outsiders don't."

The city could provide money for infrastructure improvements as well as financial incentives for housing. How much money or where it will come from has not been determined yet, city Communications Director John Rago said.

One storefront the Buccinis bought and rehabbed this year is at 605 Market, which they rented to Sneaker Villa, a hip-hop footwear and apparel store. Julia Han, president of the Downtown Business Association and owner of two Sports Connection stores that sell similar merchandise, said she's OK with the new arrival.

"Buccini/Pollin will be a competitor, obviously," she said. "But in one respect, I welcome more businesses, even similar to my own. What this means is more people will be coming to downtown Wilmington."

The Buccinis bought three other buildings earlier, one at 233 King St. The Archer Group, a Web design firm with 20 employees, moved into the first floor three weeks go from a building on the Riverfront.

"We we looking for a place that was more artsy and funky," CEO Lee Mikles said. "Even though we're only five blocks from the old office, a lot of my employees are saying, 'I finally feel like I'm working downtown.' "

Rob Buccini routinely walks Market Street, visualizing what it will look like in two years. He imagines an even more bustling place than smaller, nearby Pennsylvania towns with successful downtowns.

"I hope I haven't drank the Wilmington Kool-Aid," he said. "But the demographics ... support the theory that we can have a better downtown district than West Chester or Media. And I think this city deserves it."





Reconstruction for shops and apartments is well under way at the southwest corner of Fifth and Market streets.


The former WSFS Bank building at Ninth and Market streets will be renovated into a 136-room boutique hotel.

http://www.delawareonline.com/apps/p...0359/1006/NEWS
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Old January 4th, 2008, 05:01 AM   #29
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I moved the River Tower at Christina Landing into the list of completed projects, since it was finished a little over a month ago and is now in the process of being occupied.

I added McMullan Square, a decent set of townhouses in the Eastlawn area, to the list of projects under construction.

The Delaware Children's Museum has found a site; they will be using the part of the Kahunaville site that is along the river. They will use part of the warehouse in their construction.
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Old May 28th, 2008, 06:25 PM   #30
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It's been a while since I updated this thread. Back at the end of April, a site for the proposed hotel at the Riverfront was named. Here's the article. The Riverfront hotel has been added to the list of proposed projects.

Quote:
Hotel planned for Wilmington Riverfront


A Pennsylvania hotelier has taken steps to build a hotel on Wilmington’s Riverfront.

International Marketing/Hionis Hotels in Concordville, Pa., which owns the Inn at Mendenhall on Kennett Pike in Mendenhall, Pa., Holiday Inn Express at U.S. 202 and U.S. 1 in Glen Mills, Pa. and the Best Western Concordville Hotel & Conference Center on U.S. 1 in Concordville, Pa., has penned a letter of intent with landowner Harbor Associates, a Pettinaro company.

The plan involves about three acres of ground near the Center on the Riverfront on Justison Street, according to Gregory Pettinaro of Pettinaro Enterprises in Newport.

The land is not on the Christina River, but closer to I-95 on land that is now an overflow parking lot for Frawley Stadium and the Shipyard Shops.

A letter of intent is not binding, but it details the preliminary understanding between Hionis and Pettinaro. Hionis will now go through the due diligence process, Pettinaro said. But Pettinaro said it is the first time he’s gotten a letter of intent for a proposed hotel deal.

Plans call for a 150- to 175-room hotel, said Steve Angeline, director of operations with International Marketing/Hionis Hotels. Angeline said his company has been working for four years to put a hotel along Wilmington’s Riverfront.

“The area is appealing for meetings, business travelers and tourists with its entertainment, retail and overall atmosphere,” said Angeline.

Michael Purzycki, executive director of the Riverfront Development Corp., the state-supported organization charged with redeveloping the city’s once-industrial Christina River waterfront, said there is still room for another hotel.

“We’re still in negotiations to bring a second hotel to the river,” he said.

Angeline said the company has not yet decided what the hotel’s brand will be. Purzycki said the hotel would be a “prestigious brand.”

If all goes according to plan, work on the hotel could begin in eight to 10 months, Angeline said. It could open in late 2009 or early 2010, Angeline said.

Earlier this month, a Rehoboth Beach restaurateur said he plans to build a Big Fish Grill and Seafood Market on the Christina River at the site currently occupied by P&C Roofing. Construction could start as early as the fall. Plans call for the restaurant to open in the summer of 2009.


http://www.delawareonline.com/apps/p...D=200880428049
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Old January 7th, 2009, 05:47 PM   #31
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Wilmington looks like a great city! This post has been abandoned for awhile, but anyone have updates on developments and other projects in Wilmington?
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Old January 11th, 2009, 11:59 PM   #32
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Sorry, I haven't paid attention to this thread recently. There isn't too much going on right now. The ShopRite supermarket was just completed in South Wilmington, and apparently it is extremely nice (so much so that CNBC had an article about it). There is a new building prospoed for the Riverfront, called the Star Building, and they might be starting work on that now; I have seen some activity on the lot (northwest corner of West Street and Justison Street, by the new Barclays building). The biggest thing going on right now is the renovation of almost every building on Market Street into ground floor retail or restaurants, and upper level lofts. It will be a few years before all of that is done, but they have started.
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Old January 12th, 2009, 02:28 AM   #33
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Here is the article from CNBC:

Quote:
Wilmington Gets First World-Class Supermarket
ShopRite's Kenny Family Opens New Store in Wilmington, Delaware


WILMINGTON, Del. -- The Kenny Family ShopRites of Delaware now consists of four neighborhood ShopRite supermarkets located in the State of Delaware. While operating these markets, the owner and his family are living and raising their children in Delaware. Bernie Kenny, President and CEO, began operating supermarkets in Delaware in 1995. Bernie has three sons, two daughters, a son-in-law, and a grandson all working for the family business.

On December 27th, 2008 the Kenny family enthusiastically opened their fourth store at 501 South Walnut Street in Wilmington near the Riverfront. Working with the Buccini family, the Kenny's opened a 70,000-square-foot world-class supermarket superstore designed specifically for Wilmington. The store has many unique design features which are a first for Delaware: roof-top parking, customer elevators, a cartveyor system, and numerous in-store department enhancements. The new store has the largest meat department in Delaware. With four stores in New Castle County, the Kenny's are striving to become Delaware's premier supermarket retailer.

The Kenny family's business philosophy emphasizes being Partners in Caring with their neighbors in communities they serve. The Kenny family also actively works with and supports the Little Sisters of the Poor, The Delaware Food Bank, Meals on Wheels, and other local charity organizations. All monies raised in our stores serve the needs of Delawareans. Currently, Bernie Kenny is the Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Academy of Food Marketing at St. Joseph's University. Also, Bernie is a member of the Board of Directors of Wakefern Food Corporation, which is the wholesaler for ShopRite. Rich Kenny, Director of Government Affairs, is on the Board of Directors for the Delaware State Chamber of Commerce. Bernie's son, Christopher L. Kenny, Esq., CFO and General Counsel for The Kenny Family ShopRites, is on the Board of Directors for the Delaware National Guard & Reserve Foundation and the Food Bank of Delaware.

The City of Wilmington will now have the ability to shop at a state-of-the-art, full-service supermarket with very low prices close to home. It's time for our community to come out and support this ambitious undertaking and demonstrate to other businesses that Wilmington can be a successful investment. We have hired almost 200 new associates and spent millions making sure the residents are provided with the best place to shop and the friendliest and highly trained associates possible.
http://www.cnbc.com/id/28432944/
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Old February 16th, 2009, 02:53 AM   #34
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ING Direct could be building a complex on the Riverfront in addition to their current buildings in the city:

Quote:
ING offered public money to expand
Wilmington, state bait bank with land, other incentives in effort to create jobs


For the past year, the state and city of Wilmington have been sweet-talking ING Direct with financial and other incentives to convince the savings bank to expand its operations here.

The deal, if finalized, would create a $242 million complex on the Christina River waterfront and add more than 1,100 new employees.

"The last time we've had a major employer bring 1,100 new jobs to the city was probably when MBNA came and all the credit card industry. We gave them a lot of money and land and all of that worked for the best," said Kevin F. Kelley Sr., chairman of Wilmington City Council's Economic Development Committee. "It's very important for the city to create new jobs."

Under the code name, "Project 27," Gov. Ruth Ann Minner and Wilmington Mayor James M. Baker were quietly moving forward at the end of 2008 to commit public money to help in the expansion of the thrift's headquarters off South Market Street.

In December, Wilmington City Council authorized the city to borrow $16 million for the project, said William S. Montgomery, Baker's chief of staff. The money would be used for a portion of the infrastructure improvements. Although it has been authorized by City Council, no borrowing has taken place, he said.

In a Nov. 17 letter to James Kelly, chief operating officer of ING Direct, the governor's office and Baker detail various levels of public support for the bank's plan to construct 1 million square feet of office space and a parking lot on the Riverfront. The letter is signed by Minner, former Lt. Gov. John C. Carney Jr. and Baker.

In the letter, the state and city outline public assistance for the "design, funding and installation" of major road improvements "required" by the project. In addition, the state said, it would pay for any environmental remediation.The city would give "at no cost" its water department land and relocate two existing businesses occupants on land public records show belongs to the Salvation Army and Save Way Stations Inc.

"A long-term business commitment to the State of Delaware and an investment of this measure in the emerging south side of the Christina Riverfront is not possible but for, and indeed warrants, a public sector investment," the letter reads.

"I view this as an incentive letter," Montgomery said. "It's a sincere effort by the state and the city to convince them [ING] to do any future expansion in the state of Delaware."

Baker could not be reached for comment despite repeated requests. Minner, whose second term ended in January, could not be reached.

Cathy MacFarlane, spokeswoman with ING Direct, confirmed the savings bank has been in discussions with the city and state as the thrift looks for a location for its growing work force. Besides Wilmington, the company has considered Seattle and St. Cloud, Minn., she said. "We're in an exploratory process," MacFarlane said.

"We'd like to continue to grow the Delaware work force, but we'd expect no decision on any of our expansion plans to happen until economic conditions improve," MacFarlane said. According to the letter, ING Direct employs about 1,200 people in Delaware.

Discussions with ING Direct are ongoing, Montgomery said.

"We have no reason to believe it's not seriously being considered by ING," Montgomery said. "How much further along with their board it is, is anybody's guess. They haven't said no to anything."

The site for the project begins on the waterfront and stretches down river to nearly opposite the Center on the Riverfront on the other side of the river. The site includes a number of separately owned parcels, including land owned by the Salvation Army, Buccini/Pollin Group and the city, Montgomery and Kelley said.

According to the letter, the project would be built in four phases to be occupied from September 2010 to February 2016. But Montgomery said the development is not moving as fast as originally anticipated. For a building to be ready for occupancy in September 2010, ground would have to be broken this spring, according to real estate developers.

"Obviously, it's not moving anyway near at that speed, due to economic issues. That's why this thing hasn't jelled," Montgomery said. "Is it soup yet? No."

Joe Rogalsky, spokesman for Gov. Jack Markell, said the governor is interested in creating new jobs in Delaware to get the economy running again.

"If ING is willing to bring jobs to Delaware, the governor is very interested in working with ING to make that happen," Rogalsky said.

Alan Levin, director of the Delaware Economic Development Office, said he has not actively negotiated with ING Direct on the project, but said he would do so if the company is ready to proceed.

"That's up to ING," he said. "You're talking about an awful lot of jobs from a company that has been an exemplary corporate citizen who is in it for the long haul. If and when ING is ready to go, my recommendation to the governor will certainly be to move forward with this project."

Levin said he does not have a cost estimate for what the state government would pay for its end of the deal. But he said that if the ratio of jobs and tax revenue is high enough, then spending public money is a good idea.

"If they're going to build all this 1 million square feet, you need new streets, new sewers and, in all likelihood, a riverwalk," Montgomery said.

Architects' renderings by Tevebaugh Associates in Wilmington show buildings with a Dutch gable style of architecture. The renderings were done in late 2007 or early 2008 for ING Direct, said James Tevebaugh, president of Tevebaugh Associates.

Salvation Army Maj. Philip DeMichael, Delaware regional coordinator, said he "had no comment at this time."

In 2000, ING Direct became a key private-sector force in the redevelopment of the city's Christina River waterfront. It invested about $20 million to renovate three historic buildings, including two architecturally significant railroad buildings near the Wilmington Train Station.

The area is considered the city's front door for those arriving and passing through Wilmington on the train. The thrift also revived the long-vacant former Chase Manhattan building on Delaware Avenue at I-95.

Chris Buccini, a partner in Buccini/Pollin Group Inc. in Wilmington, which owns land at the development site, said there have been talks about an ING expansion in the past, but the "world has changed" from a year ago.

"The thing is not necessarily dead, but it's not alive," said Buccini, whose firm has been the most active real estate developer in Wilmington in the last 10 years. "People haven't talked about it in months."

Buccini said that with the economic conditions, it would be "insanity to break ground" on anything.

"We're not even thinking about anything in 2010," he said.

ING Direct, which has its headquarters on the Christina Riverfront, says it is considering expanding after economic conditions improve. In addition to Wilmington, the company is looking at Seattle and St. Cloud, Minn.



http://www.delawareonline.com/articl...NTPAGECAROUSEL
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Old April 6th, 2009, 12:45 AM   #35
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Anything going on downtown in Wilmington? I thought I remember seeing pictures of construction going on somewhere down there but I can't remember...
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Old April 6th, 2009, 06:02 PM   #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lookingforahome View Post
Anything going on downtown in Wilmington? I thought I remember seeing pictures of construction going on somewhere down there but I can't remember...
You were probably looking at my construction photo thread back in the past. Nothing going on downtown, but a 20-story skyscraper has been proposed at the site of the old courthouse (specifically, it would be behind the historic building, like how the Wilmington Trust building is behind the old post office). However, this story was in the newspaper on April Fool's Day, so who knows if it's a joke or not.

The Star Building is being built at the Riverfront right now. That is one thing that is actually going on. Justison Landing appears to be getting ready for Phase II as well.
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