Capital Station aims to revitalize ‘gateway into Dover’

DOVER — A development plan for Capital Station Dover, which hopes to revitalize the site of the abandoned Playtex factory at the intersection of U.S. 13 and Division Street, continues to press forward.

The city of Dover’s Development Advisory Committee met with applicants from Capital Station, as well as three other projects, in the City Hall conference room on Wednesday to discuss possible issues with their site development plan applications.

Brian Finnegan, principal at Whitewoods Capital Advisors LLC, which is developing Capital Station, said the project is moving along nicely and could eventually change the look and feel of the area.

“This is your one chance to develop a site like this,” Mr. Finnegan said. “Once it’s developed, it is what it is. It’s an important corner for the city of Dover.

“You’re looking at an old industrial building and it’s an eyesore, even for the neighborhood across the street. That’s not really what you really want to see driving into the governmental center.”

The old Playtex plant in Dover is being considered for demolition. (Delaware State News/Marc Clery)

An Aldi grocery store is the proposed anchor tenant of Capital Station. They are also hoping to draw a Starbucks with a drive-thru window.

“Those two tenants (Aldi and Starbucks), we’re still in negotiations with, we’re not final on either of them,” said Mr. Finnegan. “To get this far in the process you obviously have to show conceptionally what they intend to do with the site. We’re getting there.”

The Capital Station project is calling for 60,285-square-foot of commercial development that will call for the demolition of the site of the former Playtex plant and water tower on the property.

The development is proposed to include a 23,310-square-foot retail and restaurant multi-tenant building, a 6,625-square-foot retail and restaurant multi-tenant building, a 5,224-square-foot retail or restaurant building, a 6,080-square-foot restaurant building and a 19,055-square-foot Aldi grocery store, directly at the intersection of U.S. 13 and Division Street.

“The Route 13 corridor certainly has a number of properties that are opportunities for redevelopment and this happens to be one of them,” said Dawn Melson-Williams, principal planner in Dover’s Department of Planning and Inspection. “It’s a significant corner, certainly.”

On Wednesday, the Development Advisory Committee met with four applicants to review and comment on their applications which will be considered by the Planning Commission at its meeting on Monday, June 19.

Mr. Finnegan said that Capital Station will be quite an involved project, considering it will have to demolish a rehabilitate the old Playtex site.

“The key to this project is it’s an industrial building that’s been vacant for 17 years and, it being an industrial building, the environmental concerns that are out at the site, we’ve got to approach that the right way,” he said. “It will be a probably an eight- to 10-month-process of demolition and abatement for the building.

“Once that’s done we’ll have a site work, probably over a four-month period, and then we’ll go vertical with the buildings.

“I think the demolition and abatement process will probably coincide with the majority of the process here with the city of Dover as far as approvals.”

On Wednesday, it was all about discussion of tweaking minor details about projects before they possibly turn into big ones at the Planning Commission meeting.

“I don’t think so much there are obstacles,” Mr. Finnegan said. “I understand the city of Dover sees this as the gateway (to the city), and very much so it is. You can see by the architecture that we’ve put together, it’s in keeping with what you see down here. There’s a lot of brick. We’re trying to give them a project that’s in keeping with this whole straightaway with this site.

“I think what we propose here is in keeping what’s going up and down with the commercial aspects of what’s going on, but it is going to look much better than what they’ve had for 17 years there in an abandoned state.”

Among other applications reviewed by the DAC on Wednesday before they go to the Planning Commission included:

• The Dover Dialysis Center at 107 Mont Blanc Boulevard. An application to permit construction of a 10,000-square-foot, one-story office building and associated site improvements. A total of 6,500-square-foot of the building will be used as a medical office with the remaining 3,500-square-foot reserved for future commercial/professional office tenants. The property is located between Mont Blanc Boulevard and Saulsbury Road, south of Walker Road. The owner of record is CCD Properties LLC and the equitable owner is MRMS Associates II, LLC.

• Dover Station at 655 West North Street. An application to permit construction of a 20,000-square-foot, two-story office building and a 6,000-square-foot group home, as well as associated site improvements. This project adds to the existing development at 645 West North Street and will share site access. The property is located on the north side of West North Street east of Clarence Street. The owner of record is Faithworks, LLC.

• Eden Hill Farm TND – Professional Office, Medical and Financial District: Revised Implementation Plan. Review of a revised implementation plan for the professional office, medical and financial district component of the traditional neighborhood design project known as Eden Hill Farm.

The district is located on two parcels of land consisting of around 25.47 total acres. The revision is for the area east of Banning Street (known as Lot 2B) consisting of around 7.33 acres.

The proposed overall plan for the district consists of six buildings, parking areas, open space areas, and the street layout. The parcel is zoned TND (Traditional Neighborhood Design Zone) and is located at the southeast corner of West North Street and Banning Street. The owner of record is Dover Medical Properties LLC.

Delaware State News staff writer Mike Finney can be reached at mfinney@newszap.com.

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