New Life Coming for Old Dover Walmart Building - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

New Life Coming for Old Dover Walmart Building

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DOVER, Del. (WBOC) - Vacant buildings are a problem every town has to deal with. And the bigger the building, tends to mean the bigger the problem.

Dover is about to fix one of its biggest and longest lasting problems - a big building that's been empty for four years.

the walmart in Dover closed in 2011 after the company built a new store near Cheswold. The building, which sits along US 13, has been empty since then. But now it is getting new life.

"It has been a concern of this city because it is a large vacant building. Large vacant buildings bother us. They have a tendency to deteriorate," said Bill Neaton, director of economic development for Dover.

Recently, a big chain link fence went up around the old Walmart property. So did a sign saying that a Ross was coming soon.

"We're just really pleased that a vacant building is going to have some good tenants," Neaton said.

Neaton says other tenants include Petco and Five Below. Filling this space is a big deal for Dover, but it's not the only empty big box store in town.

There's the old KMart, the old Tiger Direct, the old Value City, and there are vacancies in the Blue Hen Corporate Center. All of those are on US 13 or right near it on Bay Road.

A lot of time and money is focused on downtown. But if someone is just coming through Dover, that isn't the part of the city they see. They see US 13 and the stretch of businesses along it.

"All communities don't like to see big box stores sitting empty, because normally your big box stores are on your main thorough way. So as people pass by they're seeing this vacancy, this abandonment," said Judy Diogo, executive director of the Central Delaware Chamber of Commerce.

Neaton says there is positive momentum on filling even more of these vacancies in Dover, which is a big deal for former big box store buildings.

"Development begets development," Diogo said.

"Once one fills up, the next fills up. It's like a domino effect," said Neaton.

Some changes to this property will be before the Dover Planning and Zoning Commission Monday.

Neaton says, if all goes to plan, construction work will begin by the end of this month.

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