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TidalHealth named anchor site in Seaford shopping center rebirth

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TidalHealth has signed on to be the health care partner at the rising Nylon Capital Center in Seaford, although exact services are still unknown at this time.| COURTESY OF NINTH STREET DEVELOPMENT COMPANY

SEAFORD For years, the Nylon Capital Center in Seaford has been a cause of frustration for many in the small Sussex County city. But by the end of next year, it will be a reimagined hub of workforce development anchored by a new 22,000-square-foot healthcare facility leased by TidalHealth.

“We knew right from the start that we wanted to be a part of it because this is sort of that rebirth of that area,” said TidalHealth Nanticoke President Penny Short. “This is one piece of a lot that’s happening in Seaford.”

It has not yet been determined what exactly will be featured in the one-story clinical space once it’s built, Short said. It’s possible that outpatient services now housed at the TidalHealth Mears Campus less than two miles from the future Nylon Capital Center site could be rehoused, or that the new building could host all new services, she said. Short also said it is not yet known how much TidalHealth will invest in the project, either, since it has not yet determined the exact use for the space.

“We’re excited they are going to be a piece of this, a big piece,” said outgoing Seaford Mayor David Genshaw.

Ninth Street Development Company, based in Wilmington and led in-part by The Mill’s founder Robert Herrera, is behind the $60 million redevelopment of the center that includes the new TidalHealth building. Instead of clothing and department stores of decades past, the reimagined shopping center will focus on workforce development, spurred largely by a partnership between TidalHealth and Delaware Technical Community College, another anchor tenant at the site. Other early tenants include The Mill and BrightBloom Centers

The project has received $3.1 million of taxpayer funding from the City of Seaford, as well as $20 million from the federal American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA) and at least $2 million from the state toward those redevelopment costs. Herrera said the project will create about 320 short-term jobs and dozens more long-term jobs in higher education, small business, nonprofit, healthcare, childcare and retail industries attracted to the site.

Groundbreaking is being scheduled for early spring and the early phases of construction are expected to be completed by the end of 2025, Herrera said. His hope is that the majority of work is completed next summer, and that the two new buildings for TidalHealth and Delaware Tech will go up in summer 2024.

“We’re not just bulldozing every building,” said Herrera, noting that a nuanced and intentional redesign of the center speaks to its connection to the greater community.

The modern design incorporates more landscaping than parking spots: A large green space will echo the community element of a long-gone community pool that once was there as well. Not only will the center cater to the area’s growing retiree population, but the wider demographic of people who work remotely and enjoy walking, biking and playing pickleball or bocci. The space will also be perfect for restaurants, bars and other recreational opportunities, developers said.

The redevelopment of the 218,000-plus-square-foot center on Stein Highway will impact not only Seaford’s residents and economic future, but all of western Sussex County, said Genshaw.

“It really was a reminder to everybody in Seaford what Seaford once was,” outgoing Mayor David Genshaw said of the center. “Yes, DuPont is gone and all that, but there are new things coming.”

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