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Old March 20th, 2005, 09:39 PM   #1
xzmattzx
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Wilmington Development News

it's about time we started a wilmington thread. thee are plenty of delawareans here that we can keep this alive.

here's an article from the news journal concerning a new building going up at the corner of 2nd & king streets. this is a nie looking building, and should make wilmington look a lot nicer.

http://www.delawareonline.com/newsjo...ltowertor.html

and here is the article if you odn't want to click on the link:

Quote:
Cesar Pelli, an internationally acclaimed architect, has been hired to design an office tower for Wilmington's Christina Gateway.

Pelli says his vision for Wilmington's skyline will be similar to Philadelphia's new Cira Centre, a building he designed with facets like a piece of quartz crystal.

"It will be quite crystalline," Pelli said.

Other well-known Pelli designs include the tapering Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, that were until recently the world's tallest buildings. The Pelli firm also designed the International Finance Centre in Hong Kong, the tallest building in that city.

For local architects and architectural historians, a design by a "starchitect" like Pelli could mean a significant step forward for the city's skyline, which some say has suffered from stuffy, corporate architecture. An architect of Pelli's stature hasn't designed a building in Wilmington since 1964, when I.M. Pei was hired to design a 22-story concrete tower at 12th and Market streets.

"This will raise the bar, set a new standard," said David L. Ames, director of the Center for Historic Architecture and Design at the University of Delaware. "It says something about Wilmington that people are willing to invest and take a risk and build something daring."

Cara Battaglini, spokeswoman for the American Institute of Architects, said a building by a major architect, such as Pelli, has the power to energize a city. When a developer or company hires a starchitect, it's usually because the client is looking for a statement building, architects said. Usually a signature project means the cost of the architect's services will be higher, architects said.

"It will pay off," she said. "Quality architecture drives further development, it brings people to a street nobody has walked down before and it adds to the quality of life."

Pelli and his firm Cesar Pelli & Associates of New Haven, Conn., are designing a 17- to 20-floor office building for client Brandywine Realty Trust, a real estate investment trust based in Plymouth Meeting, Pa. The 1.75-acre building site at the northeast corner of Second and King streets is in the Christina Gateway, an area targeted for redevelopment by the city and state in 1986. The original gateway revitalization project involved approximately 11 acres near the Amtrak station and the Christina River.

Brandywine Realty bought the parcel for $5.1 million in February from the Christina Gateway Corp., a city and state entity whose mission was to carry out an ambitious renewal project that called for four office towers and a riverfront marketplace. Of the original plans, only two office towers have been erected so far - Three Christina Centre, which was followed by One Christina Centre. Major tenants in the Gateway are JPMorgan Chase & Co. and American Express Credit Corp.

Some of the land owned by Gateway was converted to parkland. With the sale to Brandywine Realty, Gateway is now out of the land-holding business. Brandywine Realty owns the other two office towers in the gateway.

The publicly traded real estate investment trust has experience with Pelli. It hired him to design a 29-floor building next to Amtrak's 30th Street Station in Philadelphia. The $177.6 million glass building now under construction - and called the Cira Centre - has created a lot of buzz in the city for its adventurous design.

Pelli, an Argentinian-born designer, was given the AIA Gold Medal award in 1995 - the highest honor given to an individual for work that has lasting influence on the theory and practice of architecture.

Other gold medal winners include architectural giants such as Frank Lloyd Wright, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Le Corbusier and I.M. Pei.

Building boom

Gerald H. Sweeney, chief executive of Brandywine Realty, said his company hired Pelli because it wants a "world-class building" in downtown Wilmington.

"Wilmington is a very positive, dynamic environment," Sweeney said.

Wilmington is enjoying a building boom, with at least $300 million in commercial projects announced, started or completed within the past 18 months.

Brandywine Realty has grown to be a significant property owner in the city in recent years. Besides the gateway buildings, the company acquired One Rodney Square and 300 Delaware Ave. in downtown Wilmington when it bought $600 million in office properties from the Rubenstein Co. of Philadelphia last year. Altogether, it owns 300 buildings in Delaware, the Philadelphia area and southern and central New Jersey.

Todd T. Breck, president of AIA Delaware, the local chapter of the national architects group, praised Brandywine Realty for its willingness to spend the money on a renowned architect.

"I take my hat off to them. To bring in a starchitect will up the ante - make Wilmington more viable in the eyes of the business community both nationally and internationally," Breck said. "It may be a forerunner for other clients to allow architects to be a lot more playful."

Joseph E. Carbonell III, chairman of Moeckel Carbonell Associates Inc. in Wilmington, which will work with Pelli as the executive architect on the new building, said the tower will be a "beacon" for downtown Wilmington.

Richard V. Pryor, director of the city's Office of Economic Development and a director of Christina Gateway Corp., said he has been so impressed with the design of Philadelphia's Cira Centre and how it is positioned on the skyline, he welcomes something similar in Wilmington.

"It could be a signature building in the positive sense of the word," Pryor said.

Big-name projects

Major international architectural firms have designed buildings in Wilmington since Pei designed the rough concrete tower in the brutalist style four decades ago.

Kohn Pederson Fox Associates in New York, for example, designed the Hercules Plaza, the headquarters for Hercules Inc. at 13th and Market that opened in 1983. Skidmore, Owings & Merrill in Chicago designed the Chase Manhattan Centre at 12th and Market streets, which opened in 1988.

While both of those firms are considered in the same league with Cesar Pelli & Associates, the architects that worked on the Wilmington projects did not have the celebrity status of Pei or Pelli, architectural historians said.

W. Barksdale Maynard, author of the soon-to-be published "Buildings of Delaware," said the influence of the DuPont Co. probably contributed to a city of primarily conservative architecture. Such work served as a symbol of the company's low-key culture, he said. The banks gravitated to the classical-style banking temples designed to convey security and safety, while Colonial Revival was the style of choice for the educational and government buildings in the state.

"I think Delaware's architecture as a whole is very tame. Statewide, it's surprisingly monotonous. Generally speaking, there's very little interesting modernism," Maynard said.

Breck agrees.

"Wilmington has been provincial. It's been a very conservative town," he said.

As part of the design process, Pelli said, he had to consider other structures near the site, including the train station designed by the noted Philadelphia architect, Frank Furness, in the early 1900s.

In many ways, the site is not unlike the location of the Cira Centre in Philadelphia in that it is a gateway location near a train station, said Mark R. Shoemaker, associate principal with Pelli. He said the firm is now looking at the area to see how the building will relate to the neighborhood. It is also considering all the various views of the skyline, including the view from I-95 and the train.

Shoemaker promises a daring design that will be "fresh and exciting."

"But it won't be 'Son of Cira,' " he said.
here is a rendition of the building:

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Old March 21st, 2005, 12:58 AM   #2
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I'm kinda pissed they downsized the building. Nonetheless, it's great news!
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Old March 21st, 2005, 02:05 AM   #3
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cool tower.
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Old March 21st, 2005, 03:29 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe84323
I'm kinda pissed they downsized the building. Nonetheless, it's great news!
how big was it supposed to be?
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Old March 21st, 2005, 03:57 AM   #5
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22-24. Still, at 500,000 sf it is about 70 percent the size of Cira, which is still decent.
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Old March 21st, 2005, 04:03 AM   #6
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it's decent, but i also would've liked it a little bigger. my opinion for any city is that a bigger skyline means a bigger city (or at least a more prosperous and important city). a taller and bigger building would make the city look a little more important to people passing through on i-95.
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Old March 21st, 2005, 01:44 PM   #7
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TACKY

I don't know if anyone else feels the same but at this point I think to recreate a similiar building, already under construction in philly and scale it dwn for wilmington is pretty damn tacky. Not to mention the fact that the shape resembles the first bank one bulding (soon to be renamed Chase) already in place with it's peaking roofline..Come on Wilmington if we're foinf to be "inspiring" and fresh lets go all out with a design no other city has.
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Old March 22nd, 2005, 04:47 AM   #8
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Builder...

This was proposed in the same time in which Cira Cente was. Because of the slower nature of Wilmington's skyscraper construction, Cira Centre was, of course, built first.

Since then, the construction/design firm has been rethinking this project. It is no longer appropriate to view that illustration which is is rendered on above posts.

Because of the Cira Centre, there is an emphasis on differing this building from the Cira Centre. It will still, in most opinions, be quite similar to the building, but will most probably be a bit different than Cira Centre in Philly. For sake, Cira Centre is only 20 miles away from Two Christina Centre.

I am excited to see with what they come up. Even without this building, the skyline still we be very much affected by Gateway Plaza in uptown, with the Renaissance Centre at 4th and Market, the AAA building on the riverfront, the ING complex being built also on the riverfront, the Renaissance Centre on 4th and Market, the retail complex on 2nd and Market, the 22 story apts on "A" street, and the 24 story condo on south market street. This is beside the new hotel complex on the riverfront, the new casino south of the CBD, and whatever they will decide to do on that MASSIVE 7th Street Peninsula Project.

Wilmington wasn't rated the most economically secure MSA in the nation for nothing. It holds its' own.
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Old March 22nd, 2005, 07:40 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe84323
Wilmington wasn't rated the most economically secure MSA in the nation for nothing. It holds its' own.
where did you see this? this is pleasant news to me.
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Old March 23rd, 2005, 02:35 AM   #10
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CNN. It isn't highest standard of living, cause of crime, obviously. It's because we have N.E. Salaries with all the bankers, pharmaceutical people, lawyers, etc.. yet we have no sales tax, stuff is cheap, low property values.

This all leads to lots of money, and jobs, yet really low expenses and relative cost of living. NYers make a lot but pay alot for everything. Central Virginians make less money but yet pay less money.

Wilmington-Newark has TONS of jobs and money, while shit is dirt cheap here. Best of both worlds. How many Lexuses (Lexi?) BMWs Mercedes and Acuras do you see around here. I notice this as I travel. Hockessin and Pike Creek are in the top 20 in areas with the largest homes..

Too bad Delaware is so utterly boring or we'd be set. (Bows to Philly and NYC)

BTW: This is the latest rendering of CL since they upped the condo to 24. They're closer than I expected.


Oh yeah.. and on 4th and King there's a billboard with this building on, coming 2006.

There are white papers on all the business windows. The block has totally evacuated and is ready for the destruct.

Last edited by Joe84323; March 23rd, 2005 at 02:55 AM.
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Old March 23rd, 2005, 03:09 AM   #11
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I drove north to philly today and couldnt help but notice the new building going up near the Blue Rocks stadium area..
What building is that?
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Old March 23rd, 2005, 06:58 AM   #12
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Which one?
or ?

First is new AAA Mid-Atlantic HQ. Second is the smaller of the Christina Landing Residential jauns.

Photos courtesy M. Glanden www.addresswilmington.com
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Old March 23rd, 2005, 01:17 PM   #13
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I think it was the 2nd one.. you can see it really well from 495. Thanks!
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Old March 23rd, 2005, 08:22 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe84323
i never knew about that site. that guy has some great pictures. i am looking at the scenery pictures in the "greater wilmington" section, and they are spectacular!
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Old March 23rd, 2005, 08:57 PM   #15
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I really like this shot of Christina Landing

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Old March 24th, 2005, 01:45 AM   #16
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How do you make a sticky?
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BOSTON - CITY OF CHAMPIONS

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Old March 24th, 2005, 04:24 AM   #17
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Argggggggh DON'T TAKE 495 North. It takes longer. 95 is better north thru the city with a better view. 495 is better going south, as 95 south thru the city always jams up.
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Old March 24th, 2005, 04:32 AM   #18
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Let the damn city annex, already!

I never understood this. The last time Wilmington annexed land was when it was bigger than Phoenix (1800s). There have been some bullshit wasteland annexes, but we need this so the city (72,000) can rightfully claim some of it's metro (618,000, 2003 est.)

Wilmington News Journal 3/23/05
Minner wants to let Wilmington grow
Governor thinks letting city bypass county, state would help solve financial bind
By CHIP GUY and ADAM TAYLOR / The News Journal
03/23/2005

Gov. Ruth Ann Minner said Tuesday she wants state lawmakers to give Wilmington the same authority as other towns to annex adjoining land, something city officials have long said they need to grow, bring in jobs and remain solvent.

Minner said annexation power could help Wilmington dig out of a financial bind that could lead to a budget deficit of $15 million by 2009.

"They see it as that, and we're willing to work with them on that," Minner said. Greg Patterson, Minner's spokesman, said the city will "be a little better able to control their destiny."

Mayor James M. Baker said city leaders were happy to hear about Minner's idea, but said the city still needs $15 million a year from the state to avert projected seven-figure deficits in the coming years.

City officials questioned how much annexation powers would help the city because most contiguous areas are developed. County neighborhoods already have a suburban identity that residents would resist changing. Businesses probably wouldn't volunteer to become part of Wilmington because of higher property taxes and a 1.25 percent wage tax.

"It would have been great to have this power after World War II, when the city's water system was still expanding and it would have been easier to acquire newly developing land," said Baker's chief of staff, William S. Montgomery.

Wilmington now is the only municipality in the state that must win county and state approval of annexation requests. Those limits were put in place in the early 1970s, when the city tried to forcibly annex the DuPont Co.'s Experimental Station property. The need for state approval was added later.

The changes, which Minner will include in a more extensive anti-sprawl bill, will not allow Wilmington - or any other town - to annex land against the wishes of the owners. The process can only happen when land owners - or a majority of owners of a large parcel - petition to be annexed.

Minner said the issue boils down to fairness - Wilmington should be allowed to operate under the same annexation rules as Middletown, Bridgeville or Smyrna. At the same time, Minner's bill would give the state more power to reject annexation plans by any municipality that did not mesh with state growth blueprints.

Still, some state legislators and New Castle County Council members said they oppose the Minner plan. Wilmington's well-being should not come at the expense of the county's property tax base, they said.

House Speaker Terry Spence, R-Stratford, and Majority Leader Rep. Wayne A. Smith, R-Clair Manor, said the idea is sure to cause a stir of discussion and debate.

"I don't personally have a problem with it," Spence said. But Smith lawmakers and constituents who live in neighboring suburbs might, which could hurt Minner's bill in the House.

'Correct a wrong'

Rep. Hazel D. Plant, D-Wilmington Central, said she hopes state lawmakers do the right thing and help a struggling city.

"It would help the city of Wilmington tremendously," Plant said. "Wilmington is the biggest city the state has. But all the other towns in the state have all kinds of annexation powers. The city doesn't have anything."

Senate Majority Leader Harris B. McDowell III, D-Wilmington North, said he supports the idea, but doesn't think it will help Wilmington all that much.

"Symbolically, it's a wonderful gesture, trying to correct a wrong of the past," McDowell said. "But I think it's too late."

New Castle County Executive Chris Coons was not available for comment, but Council President Paul Clark, a Democrat, said he has been a longtime advocate of giving Wilmington the ability to annex.

"It's fair," he said. "The city is our heart, it's the heart of all of Delaware. If it's not a vibrant place, we're not going to attract jobs."

Robert Weiner, a Republican from Brandywine Hundred, disagreed. He said the county should not be forced to lose tax base to benefit the city.

A host of opposition

Weiner and other county officials, particularly former County Executive Thomas Gordon, have opposed several requests by Wilmington in the last 10 years to annex small parcels for economic development.

City officials said they might be interested in some adjoining undeveloped areas, such as brownfields near South Wilmington. In his vision plan released last year, Baker said he would like to create a recreational/education complex that could annex some properties just over the city line.

There also are some enclaves of the county that are almost completely surrounded by land that is in the city. Residents and business owners there could be enticed to request annexation with an offer of quicker police and fire responses, Montgomery said. An example of such an area is the Miller Road Shopping Center.

Wilmington offered grants to ShopRite grocery store officials last year to get them to locate there, on the condition that the company would come into the city. Ultimately, Home Depot decided to locate on that land and remain in the county, Rago said.

"Even if a change is made in the law, you still have to have a willing property owner," Montgomery said.

From 1988 to 1998, three tracts along the Christina Riverfront were annexed by the city during the time the area was planned for redevelopment. State officials were behind the Riverfront project.


Staff reporter Adam Taylor contributed to this article. Contact Chip Guy at 856-7373 or [email protected].

Last edited by Joe84323; March 24th, 2005 at 04:47 AM.
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Old March 24th, 2005, 07:03 AM   #19
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just wanted to throw in some information about annexing land. i believe the last time a large portion of land was annexed in wilmington was around 1910. the land that was annexed was along the delaware river, specifically cherry island and the surrounding area. this are was annexed because as wilmington's waterfront was reaching saturation, wilmington officials knew that not growing pretty much means letting other cities pass you by. so cherry island and the surrounding land was annexed so that a huge industrial park and port could be built on the delaware river. by putting these things on the delaware river, wilmington could begin to grow into a huge city like philadelphia. a port on the delaware would be much greater and would be able to handle more work than a port on the christina river. as for the industrial park, it would benefit because the delaware river had better accessibility, and so the accessibility would mean lower costs for businesses to ship goods (or send them by rail, which could've been done on the railroad that paralleled the christina and delaware rivers), which would mean lower overall costs, which would result in more successful businesses. alas, something went wrong (not sure what; no more funds, no commitment from businesses, or something like that; i will read up on it and find out again), and the industrial area never came to be.

just a little bit of wilmington history.
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Old March 24th, 2005, 11:14 AM   #20
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Yeah, that wasteland annexation I talked about may have helped the city in some ways. Besides the sewage crises experienced by Wilmington in the 'teens, that annexation did nothing in the way of significant business production, and/or residential increase.

Sure, Cherry Island developed into a mighty fine landfill.

See how much farther Baltimore goes past their city grid into the slightly less-dense urban areas of their metros, and compare that with Wilmington's abrupt limits which extend practically no further than to where Ben Franklin designed our own city grid.

Wilmington deserves to have claimed Richardson Park, Elsmere, Greenville, Edgemoor, and about half of New Castle as its own.

Because of that, our population is still next to nothing. The city is still a minute blip on a national map instead of the regional location it should have been.
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