Projects in Downtown Development Districts to receive DDD Grant Funding

$3.6 million in grant funding for 16 projects to leverage $38.6 million in private investment

MILFORD – Building on progress in Delaware’s downtowns, Governor Jack Markell and the Delaware State Housing Authority announced on Tuesday that sixteen new downtown revitalization projects in Harrington, Milford, Dover, Smyrna and Wilmington will receive $3.56 million in grant funding through Delaware’s Downtown Development Districts program.
Since the first grant awards in April 2015, the DDD program has been a catalyst for private investment in Delaware’s downtowns. With these new awards, $17.7 million in grants through the program has leveraged $329 million in private investment in designated downtown districts in all three counties.
“The DDD program has been a central part of our efforts to revitalize Delaware’s downtown business districts and drive private investment in our towns and cities. In just two years, the DDD program has leveraged dramatic private investment in a wide variety of projects.” said Governor Jack Markell. “Encouraging private investment that also revitalizes our downtown business districts and surrounding neighborhoods is the goal of the DDD program, and we’re thrilled that it has been so successful.”
DDD Background
The DDD program, administered by the Delaware State Housing Authority, was created by legislation proposed by Governor Markell and passed unanimously in May 2014 by the General Assembly.
In January 2015, Governor Markell designated the downtown areas of Seaford, Dover, and Wilmington as Delaware’s first three Downtown Development Districts. To incentivize development, applicants receiving DDD grants are eligible for up to 20 percent of their construction costs in the form of a rebate. Grants are awarded only when projects are complete. Local incentives are also available. In August 2016, Governor Markell officially designated five new Downtown Development Districts – in Smyrna, Harrington, Milford, Georgetown and Laurel.
“The DDD program is doing exactly what we intended – attracting significant private investment to our downtowns,” said Anas Ben Addi, Director of the Delaware State Housing Authority. “We’re excited to support new projects that are bringing businesses and jobs downtown, renovating vacant buildings, supporting historic preservation, and creating homes in Delaware’s towns and cities. It is great to see the success we’ve seen in Wilmington, Dover and Seaford already taking hold in the newly designated districts.”
Milford Mayor Bryan Shupe said “We were excited to be designated as a Downtown Development District and it is wonderful to see transformative projects like these funded in Milford already taking shape just a few months later. Projects like these are returning historic and vacant buildings to active use, and bringing new private investment, workers and jobs to downtown – exactly what we need to continue our efforts in strengthening our local economy.”
Funded Projects
The announcement was made at the former M&T Bank building on Front Street in Milford. Getting this historic building back to active use was a priority in the City of Milford’s DDD Plan. With the DDD Grant program, it is now being renovating to bring a new Touch of Italy location to downtown Milford. Project sponsor and Co-owner Joseph Curzi said “This project is the first time we’ve worked with a program like this and it has been a great experience. We’re thrilled to be expanding to Milford, putting this historic building back into active use at the heart of downtown and expanding Touch of Italy. Downtown in unique settings like this is where people want to be.”

Funding for sixteen projects in Harrington, Milford, Dover, Smyrna and Wilmington was announced. Another project in Smyrna, also one of the newly designated districts, will demolish the outdated Dairy Sweet restaurant at the entrance to downtown and replace it with a new mixed-use brick building designed to complement the downtown area. Dairy Sweet, the town’s ice cream shop since 1953, will take a new home on the first floor. Project investor and local business owner Bob Johnson said, “I hadn’t planned to move forward with the construction for a couple of years, but Smyrna’s DDD designation and availability of the DDD Grant program made me reconsider and move up the schedule. We’ll be keeping and renovating the original Dairy Sweet sign and look forward to this becoming a new Smyrna landmark.”

A mix of residential, commercial and mixed-use as well as rehab and new construction projects are included. In Wilmington, Lacy’s Project will rehabilitate a 3-story mixed-use building to include three affordable rental units and a café on the first floor, and incorporates workforce development. Rev. Terrance Keeling of the Central Baptist Community Development Corporation said, “With the help of our community partner the Challenge program, who will act as construction manager for the project, we will be able to train and employ community residents in the construction field. It will also help the community by taking a building that has been an eyesore and a source for community blight and converting it into stable, affordable housing. The ground floor café will not only bring a new business with employment opportunities, but it will also provide training in entrepreneurship in a place where people can gather in community helping social capital to build.” The project supports other significant investments in neighborhood revitalization on the East Side.

Other projects include new construction of homeownership opportunities in Dover; renovations and an addition to Connections Community Support Programs’ facility in Harrington; historic preservation of one of downtown Milford’s oldest buildings; and several projects in Wilmington such as tenant fit-outs for new restaurants, a cider distillery, commercial space, and adaptive reuse of a vacant commercial building to an upscale Marriott branded hotel.

In March 2017, the Delaware State Housing Authority will launch a new funding round for large projects in each of the Districts. Applications to fund small projects – defined as investments of less than $250,000 in a designed downtown district – are accepted on a rolling basis.

Full List of Awarded Large Projects:

Project Details
• The construction of four (4) affordable homes in the Restoring Central Dover area on four lots that formerly had rental housing, just one block off the Loockerman Street commercial corridor.
• The planned 3,000 square foot expansion of Connections CSP’s Withdrawal Management Center in Harrington in order to meet the continuing need for service and add a commercial kitchen for job training and employment.
• The complete historic preservation of the Pikus Building in Milford (formerly home to Lou’s Bootery) which was built in the 1840s and is the oldest building in downtown Milford. The building has been vacant for over a year and is in poor condition.
• The renovation of a former department store and a roller skating rink in Milford to accommodate office, meeting and storage space for an architectural/engineering firm. Few office spaces of this size exist outside of Wilmington.
• The construction of a mixed-use building in Smyrna on the site of the Dairy Sweet restaurant. The restaurant will continue to operate on the first floor of the new building, with additional space provided for other retail outlets.
• Four projects in Wilmington are fit-outs of buildings previously rehabbed with DDD awards to meet the needs of tenants opening new businesses along Market Street in Wilmington. The new businesses are two restaurants, a cider distillery, and a business incubator.
• Three projects are renovations of mixed-use buildings along the Market Street corridor that will add 11 new rental units and approximately 6,000 square feet of retail space, including a permanent location for UD Creamery in Wilmington.
• The adaptive-reuse of a vacant office building on North Market Street in Wilmington that will become an upscale hotel. The rehabilitation will feature the demolition of 100% of the interior 4 fit and finishes and remediation of all environmentally harmful material. In addition to hotel suites ranging from 350 sq. ft. to 700 sq. ft. per unit, there will be 10,000 sq. ft. of public space.
• The renovation of a vacant three story mixed-use property on Wilmington’s East Side that will create three rental apartments , a coffee café that will partner with a coffee manufacturer to provide training and employment opportunities for community residents. The investor is also partnering with a workforce development group that serves adjudicated youth through a construction training program. This group will also act as the general contractor for the project, providing even more employment opportunities for residents.
• The renovation of a 44-unit multifamily rental complex in Wilmington’s Quaker Hill neighborhood, completely renovating the apartments, enhancing security features, and adding a play area.
• The renovation and transformation of 28,800 square feet of the fourth floor of the historic Nemours Building in central Wilmington, from a vacant area of concrete pillars and raw space into a vibrant center for collaborative business ventures.
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Media contact:
Dan Shortridge
Director of Public Relations
Delaware State Housing Authority
Office: 302-739-0271
Cell: 302-632-0470

Governor Markell Issues Limited State of Emergency for Sussex County, with Level 1 Driving Warning

Wilmington, DE – With significant snowfall accumulating in Sussex County, Governor Markell has issued a Limited State of Emergency and Level 1 Driving Warning for Delaware’s southernmost county effective at 8:00 a.m. today. [See text of the Governor’s order below.]

According to state law, a “Level 1 Driving Warning” means that any person operating a motor vehicle on Delaware roadways must exercise extra caution. All nonessential employees, public and private, are encouraged not to operate a motor vehicle unless there is a significant safety, health, or business reason to do so.

With snow accumulation forecasted throughout the state, the Governor also urges all Delawareans to drive cautiously as conditions can result in poor visibility and icy roads.

By issuing a State of Emergency, the Governor authorizes the National Guard, in coordination with the Delaware Emergency Management Agency (DEMA), to take precautionary or responsive actions and directs the Department of Transportation (DelDOT) to, if necessary, order bridge and road closures to protect public health and safety. After working through the night Thursday to limit ice on the roadways statewide during Friday’s light snowfall, DelDOT crews reported in Sussex County at 2:00 a.m. today to begin salting and plowing operations.

“Heavy winds and below freezing temperatures overnight and into this morning have made this a challenging storm and it is important for Delawareans in Sussex County to recognize the hazardous driving conditions resulting from this snowfall,” said Governor Markell. “I urge people in Sussex County to stay off the roads whenever possible to help keep everyone safe and to allow for DelDOT as well as emergency and health officials to do their jobs as effectively as possible. We will continue to monitor conditions in Sussex as well as in Kent and New Castle Counties, and consult with emergency management and transportation officials about when it is appropriate to issue updated orders.”

The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Warning for Sussex County effective through 6:00 p.m., noting the potential for near-blizzard conditions near the beaches and for strong wind gusts up to 35 miles power to cause snow drifts that blow snow more than a foot. Snowfall of about 5-9 inches is possible, with highest amounts expected along the coast. A Winter Storm Warning is also in effect through 6:00 p.m. in Kent County, though less snowfall is anticipated. A Winter Storm Advisory is in effect in New Castle County until 4:00 p.m.

Real-time snowplow tracker and road condition information can be found through DelDOT app or by going to

Media and residents can find updates on social media at:

Full text of today’ Executive Order:


WHEREAS, a winter storm with projected snowfall accumulations of 6 or more inches is expected to occur in Sussex County beginning in the early morning of Saturday, January 7, 2017; and

WHEREAS, the projected snowfall is expected to be accompanied by heavy winds, which may result in hazardous driving conditions and may result in additional public safety responses;

NOW THEREFORE, I, JACK A. MARKELL, pursuant to Title 20, Chapter 31 of the Delaware Code, do hereby declare a Limited State of Emergency for Sussex County, Delaware. This State of Emergency will be effective as of Saturday, January 7, 2017 at 8:00 a.m. EST, and shall continue until terminated as provided under state law. Along with such other actions authorized by Title 20, Chapter 31 of the Delaware Code, I specifically direct and authorize:

1. All departments and agencies of the State of Delaware shall assist in response and recovery activities, as directed by and in coordination with the Delaware Emergency Management Agency (DEMA), in consultation with the Secretary of the Department of Safety and Homeland Security (DSHS), necessary in those areas affected by the storm.

2. As of Saturday, January 7, 2017 at 8:00 a.m. E.S.T., and until further notice, a Level 1 Driving Warning is in effect in Sussex County. Any person operating a motor vehicle shall exercise extra caution in the operation of that vehicle for the duration of the emergency. Nonessential employees, regardless of whether employed by a public or private entity, are encouraged not to operate a motor vehicle for the duration of the emergency, unless there is a significant safety, health or business reason to do so. State and local officials are directed to remove abandoned vehicles from roads in affected areas at the expense of the vehicle owner.

3. I authorize the Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT) and the Delaware State Police, in consultation with DEMA and the Secretary of DSHS, to order such bridge and road closures as necessary to protect the health and safety of the public.

4. The Delaware National Guard shall take precautionary or responsive actions directed by the Director of DEMA, in consultation with the Secretary of DSHS, upon request by local authorities.

5. I authorize the Director of DEMA, in consultation with the Secretary of DSHS and to the extent it is necessary, to activate the State Emergency Operations Plan and cooperate with federal entities in making applications, if necessary, for relief and assistance for those towns and communities adversely affected by the winter storm, pursuant to the State Emergency Operations Plan of the State of Delaware and any potentially applicable federal disaster or emergency relief laws, including, but not limited to, the Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act. The director of DEMA, or his designee, shall be the Governor’s Authorized Representative with respect to interaction with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

6. I reserve the right to take or direct state or local authorities to take, without issuance of further written order, any other necessary actions authorized by Title 20, Chapter 31 of the Delaware Code to respond to this emergency.

APPROVED this 7th day of January, 2017, at 6:45 a.m.


Governor’s Weekly Message: Addressing Threats Of A Changing Climate

Wilmington, DE – In his weekly message, Governor Markell previews the release of the state’s Climate Action Progress Report, which reflects the state’s progress in addressing the threats of climate change in response to his Executive Order 41, which called for continuing Delaware’s national leadership in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, developing strategies to improve the resiliency of the state’s infrastructure, and ensuring all state agencies incorporate measures for adapting to the impacts of climate change.

“We’ve taken important steps to address this challenge by cutting greenhouse gas emissions from power plants, while investing in renewable energy, and we’re making our low-lying state more resilient through projects like dike and beach restorations up and down our coastline. This progress must continue,” said Governor Markell. “In the coming days we’ll release our Climate Action Progress Report on how we’re doing. It shows that we’ve invested in vehicles that use cleaner fuels, strengthened our infrastructure, and increased energy efficiency. Together, we can continue to prepare for and mitigate the effects of climate change, supporting Delawareans’ health and safety, promoting economic opportunity, and addressing one of the greatest threats to the future of our state, our nation, and our planet. And that will keep Delaware moving forward.”

Every week, the Governor’s office releases a new Weekly Message in video, audio, and transcript form. The message is available on:

By email: Please contact our press team to subscribe to our press list

Transcript of the Governor’s Weekly Message: Addressing Threats Of A Changing Climate

Governor’s Weekly Message Transcript: Addressing Threats Of A Changing Climate

Our state has repeatedly proven that protecting our environment also protects and strengthens the health and prosperity of our citizens, communities, and economy. We’ve led the region in job growth after cleaning up our power sector. And the connection between our environment and our economy is clearer than ever as we deal with the increasing impacts of climate change: rising temperatures, increased rainfall and sea level rise that put our citizens, businesses and resources at risk. We’ve taken important steps to address this challenge by cutting greenhouse gas emissions from power plants, while investing in renewable energy. And we’re making our low-lying state more resilient through projects like dike and beach restorations up and down our coastline.

This progress must continue. It’s why I issued an executive order requiring state agencies to identify ways to emit fewer greenhouse gases, save energy, and prepare for warming temperatures. In the coming days we’ll release our Climate Action Progress Report on how we’re doing. It shows that we’ve invested in vehicles that use cleaner fuels, strengthened our infrastructure and increased energy efficiency. This past week, we recognized DNREC’s main facility – built in 1881 –for LEED certification in efficiency and sustainability. These actions should be celebrated, but they also represent a blueprint for moving forward and achieving our goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent by 2030, as well as protecting our state from increased flooding and stronger storms – goals supported by the vast majority of Delawareans. You can read more at:

Together, we can continue to prepare for and mitigate the effects of climate change, supporting Delawareans’ health and safety, promoting economic opportunity, and addressing one of the greatest threats to the future of our state, our nation, and our planet. And that will keep Delaware moving forward.

H. Donovan Phillips Jr. appointed as Delaware member of Chesapeake Bay Local Government Advisory Committee

DOVER – Governor Jack Markell has appointed H. Donovan Phillips, Jr. to serve as a member of the Chesapeake Bay Local Government Advisory Committee (LGAC), created by the Chesapeake Bay Executive Council through the 1987 Chesapeake Bay Agreement. The Chesapeake Executive Council – whose members include the governors of Delaware, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia, the Mayor of the District of Columbia, the Chesapeake Bay Commission Chair and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator – was established in 1983 with responsibilities for guiding the Chesapeake Bay Program’s policy agenda and setting conservation and restoration goals for the bay.

Mr. Phillips, Delaware’s LGAC appointee, is a Laurel town councilman, and a founding member, chairman, and board member of the Laurel Redevelopment Corporation (LRC). The mission of the LRC, a non-profit corporation, is to enhance the quality of life in Laurel by obtaining, rehabilitating and revitalizing properties that increase economic development for the town.

DNREC and the Division of Watershed Stewardship work in partnership with the Town of Laurel, the LRC and Chesapeake Bay LGAC to enhance the natural assets along the waterfront of Broad Creek, a tributary of the Nanticoke River. The LRC’s vision is to create activities and businesses that will enhance the attractiveness of the town while protecting and improving the health of important aquatic resources. The LRC owns, develops, and protects the parks and properties along 95 percent of the Broad Creek shoreline within the town’s boundaries.

As an LGAC member, Mr. Phillips will advise the Chesapeake Executive Council on how to effectively implement projects and engage the support of local governments to achieve the goals of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement. Signatories to the 2014 agreement include representatives from the entire watershed, committing for the first time the Bay’s headwater states to full partnership in the Bay Program.

The Chesapeake Bay LGAC’s mission is to share the views and insights of local elected officials with state and federal decision-makers, and to enhance the flow of information among local governments about the health and restoration of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. Also of importance to the LGAC’s mission is the challenge of nutrient and sediment load reduction facing local jurisdictions within the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.

More information on the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement can be found at More information on the Chesapeake Bay Local Government Advisory Committee can be found at

Contact: Jennifer Walls, DNREC Watershed Assessment and Management Section 302-739-9939; email:

Vol. 46, No. 434