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BPG to redevelop LoMa’s Lincoln Square

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Buccini/Pollin Group (BPG) has begun a $12 million renovation of the Lincoln Square property on Market Street. | DBT PHOTO BY MIKE ROCHELEAU

WILMINGTON – Buccini/Pollin Group announced Monday that it has acquired nearly an entire city block in the area of Lower Market known as Lincoln Square, which it intends to redevelop into a mix of residential and commercial space.

The acquisition encompasses 10 contiguous buildings totaling 48,000 square feet from 300 to 318 N. Market St., between 3rd and 4th streets. BPG paid more than $4 million for properties over the last seven years, according to county land records. It closed the final sale June 3, acquiring the key Lincoln Square building for $3.65 million from California-based developer Brent Funston, who bought it at sheriff’s sale two years ago for $8 million.

BPG, the Wilmington-based development and management firm, plans to convert the upper floor office space in the project into 39 residential apartments – including 21 studios and 18 one-bedrooms – while maintaining the existing 9,000 square feet of ground-floor retail space. The project is expected to be completed in the summer of 2022, according to Mike Hare, executive vice president for development at BPG.

BPGS Construction will manage the construction of the $12.1 million renovation project, while Studio Jaed Architects will oversee the design, ResideBPG will handle residential leasing, and Virtus Realty Advisors will handle commercial leasing of the property that will continue to be known as Lincoln Square.

Lincoln Square has a history dating back to the 1800s and was the site of a visit by then-Rep. Abraham Lincoln. | DBT PHOTO BY MIKE ROCHELEAU

Originally developed in the 1800s as a collection of individual townhomes, the property was first converted to retail space in the years following the Civil War. By the end of the 19th century, Lippincott & Co. occupied most of the block from 306-314 Market St. The department store thrived as “one of the leading merchandise locations in Wilmington” for over 60 years, as described by the Wilmington City Directory in 1940.

After many years of neglect and abandon, Market Preservation Initiatives LLC, completed a comprehensive interior and exterior historic renovation of the buildings in 2008, introducing ground-floor retail, adjoining commercial office space on the upper floor, and a common-entry lobby.

The property was then renamed Lincoln Square in honor of Abraham Lincoln’s visit to Wilmington on June 10, 1848. A congressman at the time, Lincoln addressed members of the Whig political party from the balcony of the Fourth Street Market House, which was located in the center of 4th Street between Orange and Market streets. It was Lincoln’s only documented visit to Delaware.

The Lincoln Square project is one of many being done in the Market Street corridor by BPG, the city’s largest landholder and investor. To its south, BPG recently opened The Cooper, a 92-unit apartment complex, while to the north it will build the city’s first boutique hotel. Farther to the north, BPG already owns MKT, Market Street Village, The Residences at Mid-Town Park, The Residences at Rodney Square, and 101 duPont Place. In terms of retail and restaurant, BPG also owns Bardea, DE.CO Food Hall, Chelsea Tavern, La Fia, Makers Alley, and more in the area.

Hare noted that leasing continues to be strong at BPG’s residential units, with the recently opened Cooper already 25% leased and 101 duPont Place 65% leased.

“We still see some depth in the market,” he added. “Lower Market Street has arguably some of the most attractive architecture in the city, so we’re encouraged by that.”

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