Take a former retail mecca and a chance glance at a sheriff sale sign and you might have a snap shot of the economy of the last 50 years. Put them together and you have a new place for students at the Delaware College of Art and Design.
DCAD and Wilmington city officials dedicated new living quarters for 94 students at 707 King Street. The area was formerly the Brandywine Suites Hotel. DCAD President Stuart Baron recalls he went to the city five years ago after seeing a foreclosure sign on the property. He says he went to the city with an idea to expand DCAD and improve the quality of life in Wilmington.
Mayor James Baker was on hand for the dedication. He says the quality of life will definitely improve. In typical Baker style he said, “Students are the only people who aren’t afraid of anything.” He added, “It’s great to see students walking around downtown now.” He says he believes in “thinking people, and Stuart (Baron) is definitely a thinker.”
Wilmington Economic Development Director, Joe DiPinto said this was the second dedication he’s been a part of at that address. He attended the dedication of the Brandywine Suites in the late 80’s. Before that he noted the address was Bronstein’s Department store. “It was THE destination store for ladies fashion,” he said. He also pointed out that a descendant of the Bronstein family attended the dedication.
Baron also said the ability to expand living quarters for students will pay other dividends. He said that Jerry’s Artarama will set up a store inside their Market Street main building. Baron said, “it just didn’t seem right that the only way to order art supplies in Delaware was to go on line or drive to Philadelphia. This will become a destination store for those supplies.”
The dorms are set up with an open atrium look. There is a lounge in the first level where food is sold. Each suite has a living/kitchenette space. College officials were very proud to point out the granite counter tops. There is a bedroom with a window that does get light from the atrium. Right now, second year students live at the Saville building at 5th and King.
Construction was completed with help from M&T Bank and ING Bank. The city of Wilmington also provided a $500,000 forgivable loan.