[caption id="attachment_227942" align="aligncenter" width="1200"] A future 890,000-square-foot warehouse near the Wilmington-New Castle Airport has received $2.5 million in transportation infrastructure funding, but won't receive a second grant yet. | DBT PHOTO BY JACOB OWENS[/caption]
DOVER – The Transportation Infrastructure Investment Fund (TIIF) Council has recommended two new recipients for $2.8 million in grant funds, but also denied additional assistance for a New Castle warehouse project already under construction.The fund was established to provide economic assistance for renovation, construction, or any other type of improvements to roads and related transportation infrastructure to attract new businesses to this state or expand existing in-state businesses. It was spearheaded by Gov. John Carney in his fiscal year 2020 budget. To date, the fund has supported 20 projects statewide with more than $27.6 million in grants.The fund is managed by the nine-member TIIF Council, which consists of seven appointments made by the governor and two state legislators. The council, chaired by Joe Westcott, market president for Capital One, considers applications and makes funding recommendations to Delaware’s Transportation Secretary and the Secretary of State. The board recommended approval of two new proposals at their Nov. 16 meeting, but also denied additional aid to one.
[caption id="attachment_199354" align="alignright" width="300"] Stoltz Real Estate Partners has proposed this facility near the Wilmington-New Castle Airport. | PHOTO COURTESY OF NCC[/caption]
In November 2021, the council approved a $2.5 million grant to improve access and infrastructure to a roughly 59-acre parcel at Hare’s Corner, near the intersection of Route 273 and U.S. Route 13, where a planned 890,000-square-foot warehouse is to be built near the Wilmington-New Castle Airport. Shortly after that approval, however, the property traded hands from one LLC operated by Pennsylvania-based developer Stoltz Real Estate Partners to a different one with other investors – including an unnamed “very large insurance company” – in a nearly $26.2 million sale.Under the parameters of the TIIF grant funding, the new ownership LLC needed to seek approval to continue to reap the benefit of the funding, which the council granted. The Stoltz entity KSIP I Piccard LLC also sought an additional $2.5 million to assist in transportation site improvements, which the council denied in a 3-2 vote.Chairman Westcott explained his opposition in noting that KSIP Piccard had not fulfilled the terms of its prior guidance that it would need to secure a tenant that would agree to a 90-job target before receiving a matching second grant.Council member John Riley concurred, adding that he felt the council had already contributed enough in its initial allocation.“It just doesn't seem to make a lot of sense to me to put another large investment into this project,” he said. “Subsidizing warehouse jobs, basically, just doesn't seem like a great place for the state to be subsidizing.”State Sen. Nicole Poore, who serves on the council as well, noted her support, saying she was glad to see the long-neglected site turned into new jobs and economic impact for the area.The project at 550 Churchmans Road has shifted in concept in recent years, after a failed attempt to develop the former gravel pit into a retail site anchored by Walmart. That project was scuttled by then-County Executive Tom Gordon, who pulled support for a state grant connected to the project in 2013 after learning of Walmart’s involvement, saying it would hurt “mom-and-pop” businesses.Amazon’s ILG1 facility was originally intended to be developed at the former borrow pit site, but the e-commerce giant preferred the site a few miles to the south at more than 200-acre Blue Diamond Park. Stoltz is now investing more than $90 million into developing the site into a spec facility, that is aims to open by the end of next year.
[caption id="attachment_225464" align="alignleft" width="300"] Combined, the Milford Corporate Center would include 3.7 million square feet of floor space if completely maxed out. | PHOTO COURTESY OF MILFORD[/caption]
In new projects, the TIIF council signed off on $2.76 million to the city of Milford for its 182-acre industrial park off Route 14, that is expected to create at least 43 jobs within three years of completion – the city estimates that the development could create upward of 1,300 jobs within a decade. The TIIF funds will help install a roundabout on Ferry Road as well as access points to Route 14, along with other infrastructure improvements.The council also approved $128,000 to Snead Property Management, a small development company run by Clay and LaSonya Snead, looking to develop a mixed-use project on Vines Creek Road in Dagsboro. The funds would help build sidewalks, a road shoulder and improve stormwater drainage for the site estimated to create 24 jobs within three years.
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