New Building Brings Revitalization Hopes in Downtown Dover - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

New Building Brings Revitalization Hopes in Downtown Dover

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DOVER, Del.- The revitalization process in downtown Dover got a push forward this week. A new five-story building opened its doors after many months of construction. And its combination of apartments and retail space has hopes high.

Forty-eight apartments now stand at the corner of Loockerman Street and Governors Avenue, which is the former site of the dilapidated Bayard Hotel.

"We've had 10 or 12 move-ins this week," said Henry Mast, the site's developer. "We have the same amount next week. We expect to have all the units full within a month or month and a half."

On the building's ground floor are retail spaces. One spot has a pharmacy that celebrated its grand opening Thursday. The other spot does not have a renter yet.

Downtown Dover is littered with vacant storefronts and "for rent" signs. This project may help fix that. Bill Neaton, executive director of the Downtown Dover Partnership, said the key is all of the new people that will now live in the area.

"It's families downtown with disposable income," he said. "Obviously the more people you have downtown, the better off the revitalization efforts are."

"It does start with people living in the area," Mast said. "I think they need a lot more of this in order to revitalize it. I thought this was a small step in the right direction."

The apartments have a moderate-income restriction for renters.

"It is designed for people who have a job, and are just starting out in life," Mast said.

The restriction allowed the project to get state-funding assistance. But it also created some criticism that higher-end, non-income restricted apartments would have been better for the downtown. Neaton does not see it that way.

"The people who live there have to have a job," he said. "They're going to have disposable income. It might have been nice to have open market apartments, but there are still areas that we can have open market apartments in the downtown."

And he said plans are moving forward to make that happen. The Partnership is looking for a developer to build on the old downtown Dover ACME site. Neaton said there are ready-to-go plans for more mixed-use buildings. They just need someone to build them.

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