Dover Eyes Acquisition of Duncan Center - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Dover Eyes Acquisition of Duncan Center

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DOVER, Del. — The Duncan Center is six stories tall—easily the highest building in Downtown Dover.

Soon, it could belong to the city.

Dover is interested in obtaining the office building, located at 500 Loockerman Street, and has been involved in preliminary discussions on a contract with the owners of the building, according to city manager Donna Mitchell.

Despite that acknowledgment, Mitchell would not comment on other aspects of a potential deal, including a price tag. She did note city leaders in recent years have discussed the idea of moving city offices to a either a newly-constructed building or a more modern location.

"I would say we're looking at this opportunity in lieu of having to build from scratch," she said.

The Duncan Center, constructed in 2004, does not factor into this year’s budget plan. The cost of the buying the building would likely be millions of dollars, according to public listings on a commercial real estate website.

Placing city offices in the Duncan Center, which currently houses a number of leased offices and an event hall on the top floor, would mark a major change for Dover, whose city hall is nearly 50 years old.

The discussions on acquiring the Duncan Center follow a series of closed-door executive sessions and special meetings of city council in May in which notices said the council would be discussing a potential land acquisition.

The executive sessions were shrouded from the public through an exemption in Delaware’s FOIA laws on preliminary site acquisitions.

Council President Bill Hare said acquiring the Duncan Center would also allow the city to help guide economic activity in the western portion of the downtown area.

"It would kind of spread (development) through the east to the west," he said.

Any final agreement would have to be voted on by city council during a public meeting.

Dover Mayor Robin Christiansen said the city must do its due diligence on the property, if an agreement is struck between the city and the property owners.

"I hope we move forward cautiously because this is a big decision to make," he said.



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