Reybold diversifies portfolio with Pencader project
GLASGOW – A new mixed-use commercial plaza fronting the Pencader Corporate Center along Route 896 is the latest example of the longtime development firm Reybold Group’s drive to diversify a large residential portfolio.
Led by CEO Jerome “Jerry” Heisler Jr., Reybold is well-known for projects like Columbia Place, Meridian Crossing and St. Andrew’s, as well as longtime roots in manufactured housing, but the firm is increasingly looking toward opportunities in the commercial sector.
That includes a 17.25-acre plaza at Pencader that celebrated the opening of a 5,500-square-foot Wawa convenience store on Dec. 15. A 10,000-square-foot Great New Beginnings, a locally owned and operated early education center, is set to open in the fall of 2024, and a 12,000-square-foot retail center is also planned – Heisler’s already had interest from a pizzeria for that strip.
“Service businesses would go well there. It’s a really big industrial park with 1,200 or 1,300 people working there, plus another few hundred across the street at the [Glasgow Business Campus]. So there’s a lot of people right within the intersection,” Heisler told Delaware Business Times this week.
That traffic is one of the reasons why Reybold was able to attract the attention of Wawa after originally envisioning a bank branch in the plaza, he added.
Reybold still plans to build an office building and small hotel on the property following the start of the mixed-use development. A hotel could draw some business travel from the surrounding businesses and some event stays from the neighboring Executive Banquet and Conference Center.
“There really isn’t a hotel built in that marketplace, and I think it’s an opportunity for us,” Heisler said. “You’re not looking for a full-service hotel, you’re looking for a suite or economy-type hotel and I think there’s a demand for it.”
The development of Pencader, a parcel that Reybold acquired back in 1999 from the Shriners Hospital for Children for about $2.1 million, according to county land records, is just the latest non-residential project for the firm.
Earlier this year, it opened the PLY Coworking Spaces off Ogletown Road and a short distance away has begun a major redevelopment of the former Avon Products distribution facility, which will include apartments, offices, a four-story hotel and multiple retail and restaurant spaces. Heisler said that he expected work to begin on apartments there this spring, with the commercial aspects to follow afterward.
Just south of the Pencader project at the intersection of U.S. Route 40 and Route 896, Reybold also owns the corner lot that has long been home to its manufactured home models and sales center, but Heisler sees that as another mixed-use site.
The firm is developing plans for that site that would include a retail strip, apartments and a self-storage facility.