During FY2021 and amid a global pandemic, 60 development projects throughout the state were completed. The majority of projects were residential, furthering Delaware’s commitment to creating a range of housing opportunities that build a strong customer base for nearby businesses.
The remaining projects were divided between the rehabilitation of mixed-use or commercial buildings, a strategy proven to remove blight, increase the number and type of living options in downtown areas, and maintain a city’s unique identity.
“To date, 35 new homes have been built and half a dozen more are in the pipeline,” said Rob Pierce, Planning Director for the City of Milford. “The momentum from these investments has radiated outside of our downtown area. We’ve even seen an impact on our aging and neglected housing stock. Instead of tearing down the foundations and creating empty lots, DDD helps maintain the character of historic buildings in our city.”
The 60 projects, 55 large and 5 small, received a total of $2.5 million in state funds. In addition, $10 million in state funds were reserved for 17 large projects and are expected to leverage $250 million in private investment.
“Our town, like many others, was hit by a highway boom and our downtown area got left behind,” said Sara M. Bluhm, Economic Development and Community Engagement Administrator for the City of Milford. “Since being designated a Downtown Development District, we’ve seen several big investments in our commercial areas. We’re open for business again and our staff is enthusiastic to help others invest.”
The DDD program was created by legislation proposed by Governor Markell and passed unanimously in May 2014 by the General Assembly. Since its inception, the program has been a catalyst for private investment in Delaware’s downtowns, spurring 235 projects completed and placed in service. The districts include Clayton, Delaware City, Dover, Georgetown, Harrington, Laurel, Middletown, Milford, New Castle, Seaford, Smyrna, and Wilmington.
Further development successes can be found on the program’s Story Map. Created in partnership with the University of Delaware’s Institute of Public Administration and the Office of State Planning Coordination, this interactive website details the DDD projects that have received rebates or are currently in the pipeline.
“Viable, stable community development is a critical part of DSHA’s mission and we are thrilled to steward this funding to support economic growth in downtown areas throughout the state,” said DSHA Director Eugene R. Young, Jr. “All that we have achieved in 2021 would not have been possible without our fantastic partners like The Division of Small Business, the Office of State Planning Coordination, University of Delaware, and many more. We look forward to continuing our efforts in 2022.”
Applications for 2022 Large Projects closed on Friday, January 28, 2022. Applications for 2022 Small Projects are accepted on a rolling basis. For more information on DDD, please visit the DSHA website. To read the full annual report, visit the DDD webpage