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Commercial Real Estate Economic Development New Castle County News

Pa firm. completes office-to-apartment conversion

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WILMINGTON – The heart of downtown Wilmington now has more residential options after a Pennsylvania-based real estate investment firm finished a conversion project on Market Street.

Westover Companies 901 Market Tower Wilmington

The Westover Companies completed a conversion of this office building into apartments. | DBT PHOTO BY JACOB OWENS

The Westover Companies, a 58-year-old firm based in King of Prussia, completed a $27 million conversion project at 901 N. Market St.

It bought the 112,000-square-foot, 14-story office building at auction nearly six years ago for $1.7 million and converted it into 82 apartments with about 6,500 square feet of retail space on the ground floor. The units include studios, one-bedrooms, and two-bedrooms with monthly rents between $1,597 and $3,500.

Westover already owns and operates two other apartment complexes in the city: Delfe Apartments at Trolley Square and Gilpin Place. The North Market Street building dates back to 1893, when it was built for Equitable Guarantee and Trust.

“One of the reasons we went after it was that it seemed like an appropriate price, but there is a lot of work that needs to be done, and we’re on it,” David McManus, then-vice president of commercial development at Westover, told Delaware Business Times in 2017.

While Westover had originally sought to lease the space out as offices, it has since pivoted back to its primary focus of multi-family residential.

“We are very pleased to welcome The Westover Companies and this beautiful new space to our growing family of residences in the center of Wilmington, which continues to grow and thrive,” Mayor Mike Purzycki said in a statement. “The repurposing of this historic property, which will soon be filled with new residents to support the many small businesses on and around Market Street and bring new energy to the Downtown District, is just one more indication of the great things happening all around our City each and every day.”

Requests to Westover to discuss the project were not returned.

The 901 Market Tower will join a rapidly developing Market Street corridor that is turning into a destination for residential living, especially among young professionals working in the city.

Major city developer Buccini/Pollin Group (BPG) opened the $62 million Crosby Hill, a 203-unit complex that covers three buildings at 517 Shipley St. a block off Market Street, last year, while also redeveloping 39 apartments in Lincoln Square in the Lower Market. It is also preparing to convert 300,000 square feet of upper-floor office space in the Nemours Building into 350 apartments.

It isn’t just BPG getting into the market, however, as New York-based YBTZ LLC is actively converting the nearby 913 Market St. high-rise into 54 apartments and some ground-floor retail.  New Jersey-based real estate investment firm Yada Properties also bought the former Delaware College of Art and Design Saville dormitory at the corner of Market and King streets and converted it into 42 apartment units.

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