New retail and restaurant complex proposed in Dover

DOVER — A proposal for a brand-new Golden Corral buffet-style restaurant is part of a Conceptual Site Development Master Plan reviewed Wednesday by Dover’s Development Advisory Committee.

The plan includes the restaurant as well as three retail buildings for 747 N. Dupont Highway, the former site of Berry Van Lines which has remained vacant since the company moved to Pear Street in Dover.

The proposed site of the new retail and restaurant complex is located between the Pizza Hut and Speedway Café on North Dupont Highway and behind Pugh’s Service Small Engine Repair Shop and the Comfort Inn & Suites off Leipsic Road, which would sit to the north.

The project also involves reconfiguration of the property and parking for the hotel, located at 764 Dover Leipsic Road.

“They are proposing four new buildings here, one restaurant and three retail stores,” said Eddie Diaz, a planner for the city. “Right now, the site that’s perceived here is part of a much larger parcel that extends up along Leipsic Road.

“It’s 25 acres and it has been subdivided into a 15-acre parcel and a 10-acre parcel. The one that you see (on the proposed plans) are on the 10-acre parcel.

“They are still going to, as part of this plan, do a little bit of a land swap with the hotel parcel. Currently, the hotel parcel looks like a big seven, but they are reconfiguring it to show (adjusted) lot lines.

“Because it’s a master plan, there’s a lot of stuff they’re not showing yet.”

There’s also a lot of other stuff they are not naming yet, such as potential retail tenants in the three store sites. The owner of record is Wilmington-based Rojan 15 DD, LLC.

The Site Development Master Plan — in its earliest stage — will be eventually seeking permission for phased construction of a retail center to consist of four buildings totaling 62,260-square-feet in three phases. The buildings proposed include three retail structures of 19,200-square-feet, 19,975-square-feet and 11,900-square feet.

The Golden Corral restaurant is listed at 11,185-square-feet and is expected to be part of Phase I, which would also include one of the retail buildings.

The proposed site of the retail center was subject to a minor subdivision application and was approved by the Planning Commission on Feb. 20, 2018. The subdivision proposed dividing the existing parcel of 25.01 acres into two parcels of 10.007 acres and 15.004 acres. This proposal deals exclusively with the 10.007-acre parcel to the south.

Preliminary plans show the larger remaining parcel could be eventually be home to an apartment complex that is proposed to consist of eight buildings.

Dawn Melson-Williams, the principal planner in the city’s Department of Planning and Inspections, said the proposed retail center fits into the kinds of applications the planning office has been receiving in recent years.

“Redevelopment of existing properties already in the city is what we’re seeing now, whether it’s redeveloping existing buildings or building on lots such as this that are vacant and need new life that people are interested in,” Ms. Williams said. “It’s the type of project we can expect nowadays.”

She expects this project will take one step at a time.

“This is a Site Development Master Plan, meaning we’ll see kind of their entire phases, but ultimately details of each phase will be part of Administrative Site Plans,” said Ms. Williams.

“The Master Plan process with the Planning Commission allowed them to bring in a big project like this, show the overall concept for it — and phases — and basically go through the public-hearing process once.

“What it then allows them to do is then what we call an Administrative Site Plan by phase, so they can work on construction of certain aspects of it without having to engineer everything at the same time. So, basically, the Master Plan doesn’t really get finalized too well.”

Dover was previously home to a Golden Corral restaurant that sat at 391 North Dupont Highway, which is now the site of the Green Turtle Bar & Grille.

Berry Van Lines, a moving company that expanded into Dover in 1959, was the last business to occupy the land where the new retail center is proposed before it moved to its current location at 602 Pear Street.

Mr. Diaz said the early plans for the new retail project appear to be properly in place.

“I don’t think their issues are insurmountable,” he said. “Right now, we’ve got a conceptual plan for a site development master plan and that’s what we were expecting, so we’ll get an active plan for each of the phases and we’ll look at it in more detail then.”

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