[caption id="attachment_215701" align="aligncenter" width="1200"] STAR Campus may see its first residential building, with a deal with developer BPG. | DBT PHOTO BY JACOB OWENS[/caption]
NEWARK — The Buccini/Pollin Group is looking to build a combination of residential and commercial on the University of Delaware’s STAR Campus, marking what would be the first residential building on the former Chrysler plant site being redeveloped by the school.Preliminary plans show a 270,000-square-foot building on the corner of South College Avenue and Discovery Boulevard. It would include more than 200 market-rate apartments and between 10,000 to 15,000 square feet of retail space on the ground floor. UD and BPG have started discussions on the terms of a deal.“That site we felt would be an ideal parcel of land for a public-private partnership to provide living space at the STAR Campus and the community,” UD President Dennis Assanis told the university’s Board of Trustees during its Wednesday meeting.The proposed mixed-use development would sit right in front of the Chemours Discovery Hub, which opened at the STAR Campus in March 2020. Since the campus opened in 2018, other private tenants like SevOne, ILC Dover, Becker Morgan Group and Kendal Corp. have moved in. It also anchors the National Institute for Innovation in Manufacturing Biopharmaceuticals, or NIIMBL.
[caption id="attachment_221356" align="alignleft" width="300"] UD President Dennis Assains showed an early rending of the project, which would include 200 apartments. | PHOTO COURTESY OF UNIVERSITY OF DELAWARE[/caption]
With four established buildings and a FinTech center set to open this year, the mixed-use development will be a change of pace for the STAR Campus. However, early plans note that the apartments can be used for early professionals and visiting scholars connected with UD and the tenants.The proposed mixed-use development is not the only capital improvement plan that UD is weighing at this moment. Kathleen Matt, dean of the College of Health Sciences, hoped to develop another laboratory space on the STAR Campus, one devoted to “wet bench” work, where chemicals, drugs and other materials are tested with liquids, requiring specialized pipes and direct ventilation.“There is so much need for it, and I would propose another building on the STAR Campus that would jointly be used by Arts and Sciences as well as the College of Health Sciences,” Matt said during her presentation to the board.As the STAR campus was envisioned in 2010 as a place to live, work and play — much like how UD has loomed large in Newark’s development — Matt also hoped to bring a fitness center to complement the health and physical therapy programs already in place.Looking beyond the STAR Campus, UD is also looking into purchasing a two-story lab space in the Delaware Technology Park near the College Square shopping center. Fraunhofer Center for Molecular Biotechnology, known for developing vaccines and therapeutics for autoimmune disorders, currently occupies the building.The 56,000-square-foot facility has 27,000 square feet of lab space and 12,000 square feet of manufacturing space, while the rest is used for office space. Renovations would be needed, but it would be inexpensive compared to new construction, Assanis said.“It already includes a Good Manufacturing Practice space that can be used for drugs and the like … We feel that this building can provide some catalytic space for us,” the UD president told the trustees.The university is also looking to expand the Genuardi Food Innovation Laboratory, a food science kitchen that is well-known for its cheese curds and ice cream. The second phase of the project would expand ice cream production at UD’s Worrilow Hall, and would include some renovation and new equipment purchases.
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