Downtown District program progresses during pandemic

ByShannon J. Cortes

Feb 28, 2022

The Downtown Development Districts (DDD) program, administered by the Delaware State Housing Authority (DSHA), has reported progress during the pandemic.

In fiscal year 2021, 60 development projects across the state were completed. Most of the projects were residential, reinforcing Delaware’s commitment to creating a range of housing opportunities that build a customer base for nearby businesses. The remaining projects were divided between the rehabilitation of mixed or tertiary buildings.

“As of today, 35 new homes have been built and half a dozen more are in the pipeline,” said Milford Town Planning Director Rob Pierce. “The momentum of these investments has radiated beyond our downtown core. We have even seen an impact on our aging and neglected housing stock. Instead of demolishing foundations and creating vacant lots, DDD helps maintain the character of historic buildings in our city.

The 60 projects, 55 large and five small, received a total of $2.5 million in public funds. In addition, $10 million in public funds have been earmarked for 17 major projects and are expected to leverage $250 million in private investment.

The DDD program was created by legislation proposed by Governor Jack Markell and passed unanimously in May 2014 by the General Assembly. Since its passage, 235 projects carried out and put into service. Districts include Clayton, Delaware City, Dover, Georgetown, Harrington, Laurel, Middletown, Milford, New Castle, Seaford, Smyrna, and Wilmington.

Further information can be found on the program’s Story Map and created in partnership with the University of Delaware’s Institute of Public Administration and the State Planning Coordinating Office, the interactive website details the DDD projects that have received discounts or are currently underway.

“Sustainable and stable community development is a critical part of DSHA’s mission and we are excited to manage this funding to support economic growth in downtown areas across the state,” said the Authority Director. of Housing, Eugene R. Young, Jr. “Everything we have achieved in 2021 would not have been possible without our amazing partners like the Division of Small Business, the State Planning Coordinating Office, the 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, visit the DSHA Website.

To read the full annual report, Click here.