[caption id="attachment_223349" align="aligncenter" width="2560"] Along the Middle Neck Road-Warwick corridor, there are four warehouses planned for more than 200 acres of farmland. | DBT PHOTO BY KATIE TABELING[/caption]
MIDDLETOWN — Two local farmland owners have teamed up with a Wilmington law firm to work on bringing roughly 2.3 million square feet of warehouse space to southern New Castle County.Plans filed with the state show at least four warehouses on 254 acres combined split between Middle Neck Road and east of Warwick Road. The northern parcel, which would include a combined 1.4 million square feet between the two warehouses, is owned by Richard P. Money. The southern parcel, which would be 930,000 square feet between two warehouses, is owned by Puglisi Egg Farms, a farm run by brothers Mike, John and Paul Puglisi in the same area. Both properties have a limited liability corporation linked to Rhodunda Williams & Kondraschow listed as an equitable owner and developer in the project.“It seemed like there was a bigger need for [manufacturing space] of use out here,” said Scott Lobdell, an engineer with First State Engineering, who is working on the project. “And the proximity of the sites to the new Route 301 off ramp really seemed to make a lot of sense to have some industrial uses here.”Money filed plans back in 2019 with the state to turn the northern parcel into a 354-unit neighborhood, mixed between single-family detached homes and duplexes, and similar plans were in the works for the southern parcel years before that. Therefore, many of the wetlands delineations and stormwater management have been completed within the last two years — freeing up time in the planning process.
[caption id="attachment_223352" align="alignleft" width="232"] A rendering of the four warehouses proposed by two property owners along Middle Neck Road. The northern property would likely be developed first. | PHOTO COURTSEY OF DELAWARE PLANNING LAND USE SERVICES[/caption]
Lobdell added that the developers will first concentrate on the two warehouses with a combined 1.4 million square feet, before turning their attention to the south. The northern parcel has already had a traffic impact study complete for two entrances, which were proposed for the previously-planned subdivision.However, since a new entrance on the south parcel, the Department of Transportation will have to launch another traffic impact study.“With the economy kind of teetering a little bit now, with the rates and pricing, it's very urgent that we try to get these through a quick process,” Lobell said. “That's why we made a big push on the north side to start that process.”With the construction of the U.S. 301 bypass, industrial development and warehouses have been catching the interest of developers in recent years. Middletown was home to one of the first Amazon fulfillment centers in Delaware, and Breakthru Beverages recently opened its Delaware warehouse on Levels Road. The area’s profile was raised again when it was announced that STA Pharmaceutical USA, a subsidiary of multinational WuXi AppTec, would build a new campus not far from Breakthu Beverage’s new Delaware warehouse.These four warehouses would add more floor space to Middletown’s established inventory of warehouse and distribution space. Birchwood Capital Partners and Curated Development Group are looking to build a 567,000-square-foot industrial warehouse named “Project Blue Hen” 2.5 miles from the Middle Neck Road projects.Further north, Ocean Atlantic Companies, the real estate investment arm of prolific Sussex County home builder Schell Brothers, had sale contracts for two sizable parcels near the Jamison Corner Road interchange on Route 301. One deal was to sell the former Scott Run Commerce Center parcel, located southeast of the interchange, to Kennedy International, a housewares import company based out of New Jersey. The other deal would sell a 229-acre parcel to Dermody. Combined, all three projects would bring roughly 7.4 million square feet of industrial space to the market, if successful.