Governor Carney visits Dover to support revitalization efforts

As Gov. John Carney strolled down Loockerman St. on Friday, he couldn’t help but notice the vibrant energy emanating from the crowd. It was a firsthand glimpse into the “Capital City 2030 Transforming Downtown Dover” plan, and the enthusiasm was palpable.

Members of the Downtown Dover Partnership, City of Dover government, state legislators, and others were among the crowd.

During the week leading up to his visit, Governor Carney made a significant announcement regarding the state of Delaware’s commitment to revitalizing downtown Dover. The plan involves a substantial investment of over $25 million into three priority projects.

Governor Carney acknowledged the significant support that the local community has provided for projects like this one. He emphasized that such large-scale and impactful initiatives can only succeed when everyone is working together towards a common goal. The unity and collaboration within the community were evident and played a crucial role in making this project a reality.

“I believe that bringing more people downtown is a smart move for the existing businesses and the community as a whole. It has the potential to invigorate the area and create a sense of excitement.”

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The proposed funding from the state will provide a much-needed boost for Mosaic Development Partners, a Philadelphia-based company, as they kickstart the long-term revitalization project. In January 2023, the development firm completed its plan for Dover’s revitalization.

The Downtown Dover master plan is set to receive a total of $25.1 million in funding. The proposed Bond Bill for Fiscal Year 2025 includes $10 million, while Governor Carney has allocated $15.1 million from the state’s American Rescue Plan Act funds. With this significant investment, the master plan aims to achieve the following goals:

To support downtown development, it is essential to make crucial upgrades to the water and wastewater infrastructure, which are estimated to cost around $1.7 million. These upgrades are necessary to ensure that the city’s infrastructure keeps pace with the growth and demands of the downtown area.

Construction will soon commence on a six-story retail and residential building situated at 120 S. Governors Ave. The vision for this development includes a community grocery store, day care facility, retail space, and approximately 140-180 residential units. The estimated cost for this project is around $80 million.

Build a multi-level transportation center between South Governors and S. Bradford St. that includes over 300 parking spaces, a bus stop, and amenities such as bike share and electric vehicle charging. This much-needed center will cater to the needs of downtown businesses and also provide parking for the new retail-residential building located across the street. The estimated cost for this project is approximately $14 million.

Mosaic developers are excitedly looking forward to beginning construction.

Gregory Reaves, co-founder and CEO of Mosaic Development Partners, attended the governor’s visit to downtown Dover.

Excitement filled his heart when he received the news of the funding for the revitalization project. He couldn’t wait to take the next steps towards making it a reality and start the construction work.

Mosaic Development Partners has been chosen by the Downtown Dover Partnership to develop the first two properties.

The group has a successful history of revitalizing projects, mainly in the Philadelphia area, including the Philadelphia Navy Yard. Colonial Parking Inc. is also collaborating on the venture.

“It is incredibly significant, not only for the specific projects it aids, but also for the community to witness the progress being made,” expressed Mr. Reaves. “This city truly deserves this level of investment, and we are ecstatic to be involved and collaborate with the remarkable individuals in Dover.”

“I truly believe that Dover has immense potential. In all honesty, we wouldn’t have chosen to come here if we didn’t see it.”

The state funding will be divided equally between the City of Dover and the Downtown Dover Partnership. It is anticipated that this funding will cover all costs associated with the utility work and the construction of the parking garage.

Some of the state funding will be allocated towards private loans and investments, housing tax credits, and grants in order to finance the construction of the retail-residential building.

According to Diane Laird, the executive director of the Downtown Dover Partnership, it is crucial to secure state funding in order to incentivize and match private investment during the initial phases of the revitalization plan.

Todd Stonesifer, the president of the board of directors for the DDP and a downtown business owner, expressed his disbelief that the plan is finally falling into place. It feels almost like a dream.

“The governor’s assistance, along with the support of the administration, has been instrumental in making this vision a reality,” he expressed. “I was taken aback in the best way possible, pleasantly surprised, and absolutely ecstatic about how everything is falling into place so seamlessly.”

Construction is imminent, as the shovels are ready to hit the ground. The first project on the agenda is the multi-modal transportation facility, which will be swiftly followed by the construction of a six- or seven-story mixed-use building across the street.

Downtown Dover’s development is undoubtedly on the rise, according to Mayor Robin Christiansen.

“The mayor expressed his confidence in the City of Dover’s revitalization efforts, emphasizing the progress made in recent years. With the support of state funding, these plans will now be able to come to fruition.”

The pieces for downtown’s future are falling into place as the Governor’s Avenue projects are combined with the city’s recent selection of a redeveloper for the old post office. Additionally, the construction of the new Family Court building and parking garage further solidify the foundation for the city’s downtown revitalization.

Capitalizing on the Future of the City

Mosaic envisions a grand transformation of downtown with its ambitious $500 million Capital City plan. Over the next few years, they aim to create a thriving community comprising of 927 residential areas spread across six different sites. To cater to the needs of the residents, a spacious 27,500-square-foot grocery store will be constructed. Additionally, the plan includes the development of 204 hotel rooms, 792 parking spots, and 97,000-square-feet of commercial space. Emphasizing the importance of greenery, Mosaic plans to allocate 21.6 acres of land for lush green spaces. To enhance the overall experience, they will also construct a 2,575-linear feet river walk for the public to enjoy.

Governor Carney expressed his excitement and acknowledged the significance of the proposal to make the city the capital. He emphasized the importance of completing the task at hand.

“We hope to have the engineering, planning, and construction communities equipped with the capacity to deliver the projects on time, as there are time limits imposed on the projects themselves.”

“The success of downtown Dover is of great importance to the State of Delaware,” acknowledged the governor. “Not only is it our capital city, but it is also where thousands of state employees work and where many aspire to reside.”

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