Lodging, retail and water park planned near DE Turf Complex

MILFORD — A local developer has big plans to add new lodging, retail and recreational facilities near the DE Turf Sports Complex south of Frederica on Del. 1.

“It’s a place where if teams are traveling together, they can stay together,” said Steve Martin, the developer. “There are 38 cabins that are being built and then there’s 58 or 60 RV sites where you can come in and bring your own RV.”

He said the cabins will be “a series of one- and two-bedroom cabins that are built to the standard of the inside of a Marriott hotel room.”

This was an element of the project that caught the eye of Linda Parkowski, the director of the Kent Economic Partnership.

“I think that the high-end cabins are a trend we’re seeing across the country, where people like to get away in facilities such as that,” she said.

Mr. Martin said the commercial element of his project will also include spaces for a daycare center, a convenience complex, four fast food restaurants, 40,000 square-foot strip center and a traditional hotel with an attached restaurant.

It would be located south of the complex and accessible via Old Cemetery Road in Milford.

“This project offers an easy-on, easy-off to anyone who’s looking to grab gas or grab something to eat and make a pit stop before they get to the beach,” he said.

But eventually, Mr. Martin’s project will contain its own water fun as well.

“The water park is in phase three,” he said. “In most of the large sporting complexes around the country, they do have a recreational aspect… (like) water parks so when the kids are done competing, they can go and have fun outside of the sports world.”

Ms. Parkowski was excited about the water park element.

“Anything that is a fun activity that’s going to add to the experience of coming to DE Turf is going to be a positive for everyone,” she said.

Mr. Martin said the lodging aspect of the facility in particular will meet a niche demand in the area.

“Some of these people’s biggest complaints are that for them to leave Rehoboth on a Saturday morning to get to a sporting event, it’s taking an hour-plus because of the beach traffic on the turnover from the weekly rentals,” he said. “When you’re exhausted and you’ve been out in the sun all day, you don’t want to drive 40 minutes, 45 minutes to your hotel room.

He said many of the DE Turf complex’s patrons don’t like staying in Milford because the hotels there are “more B-class and don’t offer very much in the way of recreation.”

Mr. Martin said the availability of lodging closer to the DE Turf Complex will cut down the amount of traffic on Del. 1.

“Now you don’t have the 10,000 people that are coming to the sports complex driving 30 minutes to Rehoboth Beach or driving all the way back up to Dover,” he said. “They’re only going half a mile to where the lodging is.”

He added that the Delaware Department of Transportation plans “to have a service road from the complex between both interchanges to try to keep that traffic off of the highway.”

Mr. Martin said that it has been a pleasure working with Kent County and the state on his project. The final site plans have been submitted to Kent County and if everything goes as planned, construction should start in the relatively near future.

“This has been a two-year project, and we’re getting very close to the end of the paperwork and the approval process on this one,” Mr. Martin said.