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Citi buys New Castle offices from county for $10M

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NEW CASTLE – After renting several office buildings in the Airport Commons complex for decades, Citibank will purchase the space from New Castle County for $10 million.

Citi solidifies its footprint in Delaware with the purchase of the building it had rented from the New Castle County government for decades. | DBT FILE PHOTO BY MIKE ROCHELEAU

The 16-acre property located at 1 Penn’s Way is currently home to Citi’s Delaware Operations Center, the nerve center for its local offices. The county council unanimously approved a sale agreement for the property at their July 13 meeting.

“[Citibank is] looking to solidify their footprint in the state of Delaware and New Castle County by purchasing the parcel,” explained Councilman George Smiley, who represents the New Castle-area where the property lies, during the council’s Finance Committee meeting prior to their vote.

Smiley said that Citibank was also prepared to invest upward of $3 million in renovations of the office complex if they took ownership, which could potentially lead to new job growth. The sale of the property to Citibank would also return the parcel to the county’s and school district’s taxable base after long being exempt while held by the county and federal government before it.

Citibank officials did not reply to several requests for comment as to why they were now seeking to purchase the property and what impact it may have on its state operations. Last year, the bank renewed its lease at the Brandywine Building in downtown Wilmington – its logo still adorns the skyscraper’s roof – but downsized its footprint by an entire floor, Newmark reported.

The acquisition completes ownership of Citi’s offices in New Castle, as it bought neighboring 1615-17 Brett Way – home to its Citicorp North America Inc. subsidiary – in 1988.

According to the agreement of sale, Citi will pay the purchase price to the Delaware River & Bay Authority, the operating agency for the Wilmington-New Castle Airport of which the office space is technically a part.

Jim Salmon, spokesman for the DRBA, said that the sale’s proceeds will be used to offset the airport’s operating expenses. That usage was reportedly a prerequisite for the sale’s support by County Executive Matt Meyer, who was traveling Wednesday and could not be reached for comment on the sale.

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