$26 million residential project opens in Wilmington

 Market Street Village is Wilmington's newest residential space. (Mark Eichmann/WHYY)

Market Street Village is Wilmington's newest residential space. (Mark Eichmann/WHYY)

Developer Buccini/Pollin Group celebrates the grand opening of 76 apartments in the downtown LOMA district.

The new residential units are the latest effort from BPG to draw more people to live in downtown Wilmington. The company describes the 76 units as “affordable, yet luxury apartments.”

Three separate buildings celebrated their grand opening Friday, including 24 units at 839 Market St., 37 units across the street at 838 Market St., and 15 units at 6 East 3rd St. The units at 838 Market were built in what used to be the Wilmington Savings Fund Society headquarters building. The units across the street at 839 Market are above the former Woolworths drug store, which is now a Walgreens.

Just before helping to cut the ribbon, developer Rob Buccini said anyone who doubted that the units would be filled was wrong. “We delivered only six weeks ago the 24 units above the Walgreens building, [and] already 21 of them are occupied by residents, with one pending lease application.” Buccini said he expects all 76 new apartments to be rented by late March or early April. “This project effectively puts the nail in that coffin of people questioning our momentum here.”

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“The government can help, but what this kind of progress really requires are people with the vision, and the stick-to-itiveness and the ability to get it done,” said Delaware Governor Jack Markell. “To talk about the advantages of having people move back into our cities is one thing, but to see it happen is something else entirely different.”

The construction project got help from the Delaware State Housing Authority in the form of $3 million in a Housing Development Fund loan, and $2.75 million in permanent loan financing. Governor Markell’s Downtown Development District program also kicked in another $750,000. BPG also got $469,248 in annual low income housing federal tax credits, secured through DSHA, which helped leverage $4.8 million in financing.

“For us what this is all about is a relatively small amount of public money is leveraging, like hundreds of millions of dollars of private money, and that’s what it’s all about,” Markell said. The cost of developing the three spaces totalled $26 million.

Last fall, BPG opened a pair of apartment buildings near 6th St. on Market with a total of 74 units, and more residential construction is in the works.

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