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New Dover industrial park gets $1M Site Readiness grant

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Stoltzfus Dover Delaware industrial park

John and Ruth Stoltzfus aim to redevelop this vacant parcel off U.S. Route 13 into a flex industrial park. | MAP COURTESY OF GOOGLE

DOVER – A new industrial park near the northern Route 1 and U.S. Route 13 interchange in Dover received state support Monday with a $1 million grant.

The 67-acre industrial park located at 144 Fork Branch Road off southbound Route 13 is owned by Stotlzfus LLC, which is owned by local developers John and Ruth Stoltzfus.

John Stoltzfus has owned and managed other Dover office and retail buildings, including much of the College Business Park, and has partnered with local developer Henry Mast on others like the Bayard Building on Loockerman Street. The Stoltzfuses acquired the Fork Branch Road property last year for $5 million, according to county land records.

Now they plan to build a 280,000-square-foot industrial building, a 40,000-square-foot building and four 9,900-square-foot buildings on the property, opening new flex warehouse and light industrial space in a market where it is hard to come by.

Stoltzfus Dover Delaware industrial park

John and Ruth Stoltzfus pose with Kent Economic Partnership and Delaware Prosperity Partnership leaders following the Council on Development Finance approval Monday. | PHOTO COURTESY OF KEP

“Companies want speed to market as fast as they can get it. So, if we have something that is either shovel-ready for them to move in, or if we have buildings already up, we have a much better chance at locating some of these businesses looking to either expand or relocate,” said Zach Prebula, business developer for the Kent Economic Partnership.

On Monday morning, the state’s job incentive board, the Council on Development Finance, unanimously approved a $1 million grant from the Site Readiness Fund to prepare the site, complete engineering, and bring utilities and roads to property. The Stoltzfuses are reportedly contributing more than $1.15 million toward that work as well.

“With convenient rail access this investment positions our region as an ideal location for growth and innovation,” Kent Economic Partnership Executive Director Linda Parkowski said in a statement. “This investment is a game-changer for Kent County and the state of Delaware, providing an excellent opportunity to create new jobs, attract new businesses, and strengthen our economy. We are thrilled to see this project move forward and look forward to the opportunities that arise from it.”

The grant marks the 17th recipient from Site Readiness Fund, which was created a year ago to help prepare large sites for businesses that could invest here and create jobs. Kent County has received six of the grants, with almost $4.6 million in total matching grant funds for projects set to stimulate over $43 million in new capital investment.

“The Site Readiness Fund helps ensure the state has an ample inventory of sites ready for new investments and jobs, which ultimately encourages businesses to choose Delaware for their location or expansion,” said Becky Harrington, DPP vice president of business development, in a statement. “This latest award to Stoltzfus LLC will place a dormant industrial site back into play in Central Delaware, where industrial space is in high demand.”

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