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DuPont, Delle Donne call off sale of Chestnut Run campus

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DuPont and Delle Donne & Associates have called off their deal for a large portion of Chestnut Run campus, citing “market conditions” amid the pandemic. | DBT PHOTO BY JACOB OWENS

WILMINGTON – The COVID-19 pandemic appears to have killed the deal between DuPont and Delle Donne & Associates that would have seen a large portion of the chemical manufacturing giant’s headquarters campus redeveloped.

On Friday afternoon, DuPont spokesman Dan Turner confirmed that “due to the current market conditions, the decision was made to not move forward with the sale.”

“We will continue to seek the most suitable strategic partner who will redevelop the space and put it into productive reuse,” Turner added in a statement. “What does not change is our investment in creating a long-term presence where our employees use their time, talent and resources to improve our communities, enhance and protect the natural environment, and promote economic development in Wilmington and surrounding New Castle County.”

In December, DuPont signed a letter of intent to sell the Chestnut Run Labs buildings and land to Westlake Investment Group, an affiliate of Delle Donne & Associates, a large Wilmington-based real estate development firm headquartered across the road from the Chestnut Run campus. That sale, for which a price was never disclosed, was expected to close by the third quarter of 2020, according to information shared with DuPont employees in January.

Even under the proposed sale, DuPont would not have left the facility that has served as its headquarters off Route 141 since 2015, retaining ownership of what is known as the Chestnut Run offices – a collection of six buildings on the north side of the property – as well as the pavilion and parking garage. It would also have leased space in two buildings from Delle Donne, officials reported.

The decision to sell part of its flagship campus came after DuPont conducted a review of facilities worldwide that found that the company had unused lab and office space in Wilmington after years of job cuts and spinoffs, and it resolved to consolidate to “a few essential buildings” at Chestnut Run, DuPont Chief Operations and Engineering Officer Daryl Roberts wrote to employees.

Delle Donne and DuPont were to have strategized the redevelopment of the lab space and property, aiming for an “extremely attractive area that will include [research and development] labs and offices, retail, residential and public common space,” Roberts added.

The end of the sale discussions won’t mean redevelopment isn’t coming to the west Wilmington suburbs, as the former DuPont Barley Mill office complex just to the north has been razed by development firm Pettinaro, which plans to build a mixed-use commercial plaza anchored by a Wegman’s grocery store.

By Jacob Owens

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