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Asbury Square sees development, growth in Frederica

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Empire Wine & Spirits along Rt. 1 in Frederica at Asbury Square

Empire Wine & Spirits along Rt. 1 in Frederica at Asbury Square celebrated a ribbon cutting event Friday, June 7. l PHOTO BY JENNIFER ANTONIK

FREDERICA — Asbury Square in Frederica continues development across the highway from the popular DE Turf with the opening of Empire Wine & Spirits on Friday.

The long-time vacant stretch of highway saw the opening of Marriott’s 86-room SpringHill Suites last August. Next door, Asbury Square owners saw even more opportunity for economic growth with plans for pad-sites and inline retail options, along with the grand opening of Rishi Sharma and Sukhpal Singh’s second Empire Wine & Spirits location, an expansion from Middletown into Kent County.

“These things ebb and flow based on the economy and the demand, obviously, and there’s tremendous demand in this area. 50,000 [drivers] go down Delaware Route 1 by this site every day, we have an interchange which provides tremendous accessibility and visibility and then we have a destination across the street, the DE Turf,” Asbury Square co-owner John Paradee told the Delaware Business Times. 

Paradee started working on the Asbury Square site with business partners Mike Meoli and Mike Koppenhaver in the past decade, citing continued growth for the area. 

“There is a project in Frederica that will bring 1,500 new residential units into the town. That will almost double the town of Frederica. So, that’s just an example of the kind of growth that’s happening in this area. I think this is the next Middletown, if you will,” Paradee added.

He added that pad sites at Asbury Square are ready to go with full utilities and conceptual approval. 

“Anybody who’s interested in developing here could put a shovel in the ground next week,” he told DBT. “So, we’re ready to go. The opportunity is here. It’s a matter of you have to build it before they come. People don’t really see it until it’s there. Putting the hotel up was an important first step, and this [liquor store] is the next important step so people can see it’s also going to be a shopping center.”

“It’s coming together,” Paradee added. “We’re in active talks with a lot of great prospects.” 

Meoli, an Asbury Square partner and the principal owner of the newer SpringHill Suites location in Frederica, told DBT opening the hotel along Route 1 in Frederica was a great business move and he hoped “smart growth” continues to occur near the site. 

“It’s exceeding expectations in a number of different ways,” he said. “The demand seems to be, not necessarily the free-standing pads, but the inline retail sites. . . Certainly, we hope to come behind and really fulfill what the DE Turf started. It was all designed really to spur the economic growth here and now you’re seeing it. The hotel was first and now you’re seeing the retail establishments start and I think we’re doing it in a responsible way.”

For Sharma and Singh, the opportunity to expand their business into another Delaware county offered personal goal fulfillment, too. 

“When I came here to this country, all I had was $350 in my pocket. So, what you’re looking at here is a true American dream and thank you for accepting me and thank you for giving me the opportunity,” Sharma told the crowd during the ribbon cutting hosted by the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Milford.

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