Funding approved for 11 city projects in Delaware

 New apartments inside this former bank building on Market St. were funded in part through the state's Downtown Development District program. (Mark Eichmann/WHYY)

New apartments inside this former bank building on Market St. were funded in part through the state's Downtown Development District program. (Mark Eichmann/WHYY)

The latest recipients of the state’s Downtown Development District funding have been announced.

Construction will soon begin in Wilmington, Dover and Seaford on the latest projects designed to help revitalize downtown areas of those cities. Through the Delaware State Housing Authority, the state will spend $4 million on construction, mainly for housing projects.

“Our Downtown Development Districts program continues to leverage significant private investment in Delaware’s downtowns,” Governor Jack Markell, D- Delaware said. The grant money paves the way for an additional $45 million of private investment into commercial and residential space in all three cities. “This kind of revitalization of our cities will drive future economic growth.”

State lawmakers approved Markell’s proposal for the Downtown Development District program in 2014.

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The first funding round in April 2015 saw $5.6 million in state money matched by $114 million in private investment in those cities. Under the program, approved applicants are eligible for a rebate on up to 20 percent of their construction costs. The grants are only paid out after the construction work is done.

The latest grant winners include the following projects:

Central Delaware Habitat for Humanity will build five new homes on N. New St. in downtown Dover for low income home buyers.
829 Market LLC will redevelop property on Market St. in downtown Wilmington into seven walk-up apartments above 5,000 sq. ft. of ground floor space which will become a restaurant, 3 Doors Brewing Company.
James and Lorraine Nelson will demolish an unstable, 127-year-old building at 117 Market St. in Wilmington and build a new six-story building. A bank and café will occupy the ground level, while marketing and tech firm Trellist will occupy the top five floors.
MauTiste Investment Group will build three duplexes or six townhomes on Reed and S. Kirkwood street sin Dover.
Interfaith Community Housing of Delaware will redevelop six blighted and vacant houses into affordable homes along West 6th St., West 5th St., and North Washington St. in downtown Wilmington.
The Residences at River Place LLC will fund the construction of the third and fourth phases of a housing project in Seaford which includes two four-story apartment buildings and a club house.

“The program is making a difference in all three cities,” DSHA director Anas Benn Addi said. “I look forward to continued work with our new development partners.” 

Interest has been so strong that another round of funding will open on March 1, with applications due by May 15.

In January, Gov. Markell helped cut the ribbon on new apartments built by the Buccini Pollin Group with some help from the DDD program.

“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,” Markell said at the grand opening for 76 apartment units in downtown Wilmington. “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.”

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