BPG opens ‘spectacular’ Crosby Hill apartments
WILMINGTON – Standing on the 11th-floor balcony of Buccini/Pollin Group’s latest Wilmington project, the Crosby Hill apartments, gives a different view of the city than many are used to.
In many ways, it’s emblematic for what the project is for the firm and Wilmington, as the first newly built apartments to rise in the center city in many years.
“This is particularly satisfying,” said Robert Buccini, co-founder of the multi-faceted development firm that drives much of the development in its hometown. “Most of our brand-new construction had been on the Riverfront rather than downtown because there’s so many vacant buildings. But now that the vast majority of buildings have been renovated and put back to use, there was the opportunity to build from the ground up.”
The upscale 203-unit complex located at 517 Shipley St. pays tribute to the Crosby and Hill Department Store that prominently served Wilmington from 1878 to 1960 at 605 Market St. Designed by Niles Bolton Associates, the $62 million complex includes two four-story buildings and one 11-story building.
Built throughout the COVID pandemic after breaking ground in 2021, it was completed ahead of schedule and under budget, according to Buccini.
Crosby Hill includes a mix of studio, one- and two-bedroom units, with monthly rents ranging from $1,472 to $2,821, according to online listings. The units, which opened for leases a few months ago, are already more than 60% leased, and Buccini expects it to be one of BPG’s quickest leased projects.
A private parking garage with 124 parking spots is located underground for residents, and it features a penthouse club room on the 11th floor, a fitness center, game room, and courtyard pool and entertaining space.
While most development in recent years has been concentrated on Market Street, Crosby Hill marks a significant move westward to widen the core of the central business district in downtown Wilmington. Prior to demolition, the site was originally a standard parking lot – BPG officials noted that no one was displaced from the project that added hundreds of new city residents.
Buccini said that being off Market Street was a bit of a selling point for new residents because it will be a little bit quieter.
Wilmington Mayor Mike Purzycki called the new apartment complex a “spectacular” achievement for the city.
“It’s not just another great residential center for us, which is really important if you want to animate your city … but I love to sit here and look out at the back of this beautiful building in this beautiful public space and it just reminds me how many how many great opportunities there are all over a city for people to live and see the city grow,” he said.
Notably, Wilmington is seeing new out-of-state developers entering the market to build apartments, which Buccini said BPG welcomes as a confirmation of the city’s revitalization.
One of the biggest hurdles to overcome in turning the tide in Wilmington was getting more residents on the streets to help create a comfort factor. Buccini noted that for many years the lack of residents on streets helped drive a stigma about the city, but now it’s common to see people walking their dogs, jogging or heading to work.
“The key has been critical mass, and it’s a hard business so it’s nice to see other people doing it,” he added.
The celebrations for BPG will be short-lived, as its attention is already turning to its next project: a new apartment complex at 8th and Orange streets. The firm anticipates making an announcement on that “really big” project this summer.
Buccini said that he expects BPG to tackle larger projects like Crosby Hill in Wilmington moving forward, and BPG hasn’t been scared off by the rising costs of developing.
“We like this part of the cycle,” he said, noting that they’ve built through prior recessions. “The rate environment is obviously really hard, and the bet that we’re making right now is that rates don’t stay this elevated for the long term.”
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