6A — September 11 - 24, 2015 — M id A tlantic

Real Estate Journal


D el M ar V a

By Rich Gieseler, M&T Bank Delaware: Small State Offers Big Opportunities in Real Estate


hile Delaware is the second-smallest state in the country,

state, Delaware beaches are a powerful draw to retirees and aging baby boomers, with beachside living that rivals any- thing available along the North- east Corridor. Just inland, along the Delmarva Peninsula, some of the richest farmland in the country produces food and livestock for nearby urbanmar- kets. Here is a snapshot of what is happening now in Delaware’s diverse and strengthening real estate landscape: Employment Hubs Drive Demand In the new world order of real estate, proximity, employ-

ment, and access account for the lion’s share of opportunity. In other words, location, loca- tion, location is again the key driver. In Delaware, location is being dictated by a number of emerging employers, who are joining with the state’s traditional petrochemical and banking industries to drive de- mand for both residential and commercial properties. For instance, in Newark, university-centric development has spurred increasing develop- ment activity in and around the University of Delaware (UD). The college is redevelop-

ing the nearby 272-acre prop- erty that formerly housed a Chrysler manufacturing plant into the University’s Science, Technology and Advanced Re- search (STAR) Campus. Where once 5,100 workers assembled Chrysler LeBarons and Dodge Durangos, today a new genera- tion of technology and medical science workers are plying their professions, thanks to the current development partner- ship between the University and Delle Donne & Associ- ates , a Wilmington-based real estate development company. Delle Donne first transformed

the steel skeleton of the pre- vious Chrysler administra- tion building into UD’s new College of Health Sciences that will enable cutting-edge, patient-centered research by both faculty and students that will have a positive impact on expanding the academic cur- ricula while leading to new methods of clinical practice. Following the opening of the UD Health Sciences campus, Delle Donne completed the full renovation of the adjoining al- most 70,000 s/f structure called STAR II. Already, SevOne, a Delaware homegrown network infrastructure company, moved its primary corporate office to the site, which will provide the necessary space for employees to work while providing ample room for future growth. Bloom Energy’s East Coast fuel cell manufacturing center also calls the STAR Campus home. M&T Bank is proud to support The University of Delaware, Delle Donne, SevOne, and Bloom Energy as the key drivers for current and future tenants and growth at the STAR Campus. We believe inwhat is happening at the campus and look forward to the positive impact it will have for Delaware’s economy. Just northeast along I-95, the Christiana submarket shows additional future development promise due to a recently com- pleted $120 million highway interchange project that now seamlessly connects I-95 to Route 1 – the two large arter- ies that define Delaware state travel. A godsend for weekend beach goers, the project notably improves access to southbound Route 1 connectingWilmington to the southern portion of New Castle County reducing previ- ous commuting congestion for the Bear, Middletown, and Smyrna markets. Delaware flourishes as a retail hub be- cause it is one of the few places in the country without a sales tax. The Christiana Mall’s dominance as one of the most successful malls in the country, evidenced by its often full 6,700 parking spaces, continues to at- tract additional retailers includ- ing a newly opened 100,000 s/f Cabela’s, new state-of-the-art Cinemark Theater, and the launch of the Allied Retail Prop- erties’ 600,000 s/f Christiana Fashion Center abeam the mall to the south. Also contributing to real estate market growth in Christiana are a cluster of continued on page 12A

it offers diversi- ty in real estate product, posi- tioning, and lo- cation. Wilming- ton, for example, sits at the most accessible urban crossroads of the

Rich Gieseler

Mid-Atlantic region—an exit off I-95— that places it within a two-hour drive of Washington DC, Baltimore, Philadelphia, and New York, 17% of the American population. Down-


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