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State approves 8 site readiness projects

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The Chestnut Run Innovation and Science Park was among the first projects to receive a state Site Readiness Fund grant to speed up site development around the state. | DBT PHOTO BY JACOB OWENS

BEAR – The state’s investment board signed off on the first eight projects to receive grants from a new $10 million state fund that aims to invest in infrastructure upgrades to make shovel-ready sites for new development.

The first recipients of the Site Readiness Fund range from an enormous warehousing park in Middletown to the redevelopment of the DuPont Chestnut Run laboratories, expansion of Kent and Sussex county business parks and the redevelopment of a former Claymont chemical site. In all, three projects each in New Caste and Kent counties were approved along with two in Sussex County.

β€œThe Site Readiness Fund was created to help fund development or redevelopment of commercial and industrial sites across Delaware to spur economic growth and new business investment. With the funding approved today, these properties can be quickly converted to meet the needs of employers who will create quality jobs for Delawareans,” Gov. John Carney, who backed the fund in two budget cycles, said in a statement following the grant approvals.

The Council on Development Finance, an appointed board that considers applications for state development funds, approved all eight projects presented at its Monday morning meeting, totaling $6.2 million. An additional three projects are expected to be presented next month, according to state officials, while two of the 13 applications were rejected.

The approved projects include:

St. Georges Logistics Center

A preliminary plan by Shanlan Corp., a subsidiary of the local developer Greggo & Ferrara, would build three industrial warehouses totaling more than 2.5 million square feet at 1870 Dupont Parkway, or just south of the St. Georges Bridge off U.S. Route 13.

The developer will receive a $100,000 grant toward a total planning cost of $783,500 for the project, which is reportedly properly zoned but would have to work around wetland buffers. The project would be developed in the area of the popular tourist attraction, Frightland.

CRISP Partners

Pennsylvania-based development firm MRA Group recently bought a large chunk of the DuPont Chestnut Run campus, which it is redeveloping into the Chestnut Run Innovation and Science Park (CRISP). The campus sits off Route 141 near Lancaster Pike.

The developer will receive $1 million to support lighting and utility work at the site as well as paving and demolition work. The total project cost is nearly $40.9 million.

Notably, MRA has already landed leases for the redeveloped lab space from DuPont and burgeoning local cancer research firm Prelude Therapeutics, which will locate its future headquarters there later this year.

Drawbridge Claymont

Pennsylvania-based developer D2 Organization plans on redeveloping the former General Chemical site at 6300 Philadelphia Pike near the state line with Marcus Hook, Pa. It plans to remediate about 58 acres that fronts the Delaware River and develop it into an industrial site.

D2 will receive $1 million toward a nearly $8.5 million total project cost for due diligence, engineering, demolition, and environmental design in the project.

Milford industrial park

The city of Milford is looking to advance a plan to build a 182-acre industrial park near the intersection of Milford Harrington Highway and Canterbury Road.

It will receive $100,000 toward a more than $10.7 million concept master plan, traffic impact study, and engineering design of Phase I of the project.

β€œWe already have a prospect that’s looking down the road at this site if it’s developed,” said Becky Harrington, vice president of business development for Delaware Prosperity Partnership (DPP), the state’s public-private economic development agency.

Harrington industrial park

The city of Harrington is partnering with private developers O.A. Newton and J.P. Latham in building a new 131-acre industrial park off Clukey Drive near the Pepsi bottling plant.

The city will receive $1 million toward a $2.5 million project cost for engineering, planning, and road and utility work for the 37 acres that it owns in the project. Officials reported that Harrington and the two developers have been working on the plan for years and hold a memorandum of understanding that is guiding its build-out.

β€œWe’re very excited about this spot in Kent County, and it’s a priority for the economic development partners in Kent,” said Kurt Foreman, president and CEO of DPP.

Delaware Coastal Business Park

The Sussex County business park is ready to embark on Phase II development of the Georgetown site off Route 9.

The county will receive $1 million toward a total $3.8 million project cost for road, utility and infrastructure work to create new shovel ready sites.

Frankford Business Park

Local developer Martin Property Development, led by Travis Martin, is seeking to build a new flex industrial site with a 112,000-square-foot building between U.S. Route 113 and Delaware Avenue. It would add to about 95,000 square feet of space already developed south of the site a few years ago.

Martin will receive $1 million of a more than $2.3 million total project cost to complete civil engineering, site work and extension of a natural gas line to the site.

β€œWe have national interest in the property,” Martin told the council. β€œI was going to wait a little while to develop it, but the interest is astounding. I’ve got people from New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Maryland and Delaware all interested in expanding their businesses on this site.”

Wyoming Business Center

E&D Holdings, which is owned and operated by local developer Frank DiMondi, is seeking to build a business park on 43 acres at 140-146 Southern Blvd. in Wyoming.

DiMondi will receive $1 million of a more than $6.8 million project cost for site preparation and infrastructure and utility work to support the construction on two initial warehouses, about 30,000 and 10,000 square feet each.

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