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Things looking up for Wilmington CBD, analysts say


Downtown Wilmington’s flat rents and tenant-favorable conditions may change, according to a new report by JLL, the real estate brokerage. Analysts said the multifamily developments underway in the Central Business District could catalyze a growth cycle across all real estate asset classes.

More than 1,500 people have moved into the city, about an 11 percent increase since 2010, the report said. That tracks closely with the addition of 200 to 250 new apartments built or rehabbed in each of the last five years.

JLL predicted as many as 2,000 more residents will move in by the end of 2018, meaning a 23 percent population surge in eight years.

The report said Wilmington can expect an office and retail change much like Philadelphia’s. Job growth was flat and the office market was underperforming until developers prioritized residential projects and city leaders touted the benefits of living downtown. With more lights on upstairs, commercial developers revitalized storefronts and created amenities to serve the newcomers.

National retails arrived and office tenants began expanding. JLL said Wilmington’s office anchors are similarly strong, with financial services, tech startups and commitments from Chemours and Capital One.

The waterfront has already benefited from public and private investment, the report said, and existing and proposed residential projects will bring bodies, which can translate into real momentum for commercial real estate, the report said.

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