10 downtown revitalization projects split $4.3 million


Gov. John Carney, at left, explains the latest projects earmarked for downtown revitalization through Delaware’s Downtown Development District Program at a press conference in Laurel, one of the communities to receive funding. (Submitted photo)

DOVER — Ten projects across the state have been chosen for a combined $4.3 million in rebates through the Downtown Development District program, officials announced Monday.

The rebates will leverage $53 million in total investment, according to the Delaware State Housing Authority.

One of the projects is in Dover, while Laurel and Georgetown are each home to one each. The rest are in Wilmington.

Launched in 2015, the Downtown Development District initiative provides state dollars for select projects in certain municipalities, aimed at spurring activity and economic growth in the hearts of cities and towns in Delaware.

“Downtown revitalization is a centerpiece of our commitment to reinvesting in Delaware and making our communities stronger,” Gov. Carney said in a statement. “A small amount of state funding has leveraged hundreds of millions of dollars in private investment, making these partnerships among the best in our state. These investments are a vital tool in our economic development toolbox, and will have a long-term impact rippling out into surrounding neighborhoods.”

A total of $21 million in rebates has been issued for the eight municipalities — Dover, Smyrna, Harrington, Milford, Seaford, Georgetown, Laurel and Wilmington — generating $371 million in total investment.

With the funding, Faithwork LLC will be building a 20,000-square-foot medical and office building in Dover on West North Street.

The other downstate projects are construction of five duplexes in the second phase of the townhome community of Villas on Broad Creek in Laurel and expansion of a building to house a laundry facility, coffee shop, beauty salon, apartments and office space on East Laurel Street in Georgetown.

Wilmington will see the renovation of a bar inside the Queen Theatre, as well as three redevelopments along the city’s Market Street corridor, the modification of a church on Lombard Street into a multipurpose space, reworking on a building on North West Street into a commercial laundry and office space and construction on a former cabinet manufacturer on North Church Street to turn it into a church sanctuary, offices, classroom space and community center.

“We are pleased to support new projects that are creating homes, renovating empty buildings, leading to new construction, and bringing businesses and jobs to our downtowns,” DSHA Director Anas Ben Addi said in a statement. “Community development is central to our mission, and we are encouraged by the continued strong interest in the Downtown Development District rebates in all eight districts.”

More funding for large projects will be announced in the spring. Small projects — between $15,000 and $250,000 — are accepted throughout the year.

Eligible plans include rehabilitating, expanding or constructing commercial, industrial, residential or mixed-use buildings within the district boundaries. Rebates are issued after the project is completed.

The proposed budget for the upcoming fiscal year includes $8.5 million for the program.

Projects in the eight districts can be viewed at destatehousing.com/ddd.

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