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Seaford project may have early childhood center, beer hall

Katie Tabeling
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The Mill founder Rob Herrera envisions a beer hall, bowling alley and early childhood center as part of the vision for the Nylon Capital Shopping Center. | PHOTO COURTESY OF CITY OF SEAFORD.March 2023

The Mill founder Rob Herrera envisions a beer hall, bowling alley and early childhood center as part of the vision for the Nylon Capital Shopping Center. | PHOTO COURTESY OF CITY OF SEAFORD.

SEAFORD — The vision for the Nylon Capital Shopping Center is becoming a little clearer, as developer Robert Herrera has revealed new concepts and at least one more tenant for the site.

The “Montessori Works” is reportedly committed to opening an early childhood education center on the east side of the 243,000-square-foot shopping center, according to Herrera. While a lease has not been signed, Herrerra has spoken to the school’s board twice at this point, and has started discussing conceptual layout plans.

“They are obviously very budget-conscious and they have a couple of operating concerns that we’re working through. But right now we’re all committed to getting them to the site,” Herrera told Seaford officials on March 14. “We think it’ll feed nicely into other concepts we have.”

The Montessori Works program  would join The Mill coworking space and Delaware Technical Community College as the first tenants of the reimagined Nylon Capital Shopping Center. Herrera and 9th Street Development Company bought the shopping center in early December for $5.4 million, though Seaford and the state granted him a combined $5.1 million for the land acquisition. Construction is anticipated to start in 2024.

Current occupancy is roughly at 20%, but Herrera has already indicated that he hopes to work with existing tenants like Sal’s Italian Pizza. The pizzeria is reportedly hoping to slightly expand its footprint in the pending redevelopment.

“He wants a larger banquet hall behind the space, so we’re going to work with him. If we moved him to a new building, we’d have to push his rent up,” Herrera said.

After spending weeks starting to review the building on site, he also noted that the bowling alley lanes were in good shape. Herrera is in conversations with at least three bowling alley operators. Water damage on the back of the building will likely lead to demolition of part of the building, but retaining the bowling lanes. 

By opening that space, Herrera hopes to pave the way for a beer garden and social hall concept attached to the bowling alley.

“That can be done pretty cost-effectively, and it will change the whole site,” he said. “We’re really excited about that.”

Early plans at this point also include speculative retail space near the bowling alley as well as maintaining retail space on the south end of the site. Combined, it would bring 31,680 square feet of retail space, not including the Rite Aid.

Plans at this point also include 30,000 square feet for The Mill, 20,000 square feet for Del Tech, and 21,500 square feet for a yet-to-be-named health care institution. Herrera has contracted with S9 Architecture for quick concept designs for the planning but plans on hiring a local firm to do the architecture work, through a request for proposal process. Becker-Morgan Group was recently hired to do the civil engineering work.

Editor’s Note: This article has been updated to clarify that S9 Architecture was hired to do preliminary concepts for the shopping center, but a local firm will be hired moving forward. It has also been updated to reflect that Monessori Works is in discussion for the early childhood education center.

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