Governor Designates Three Downtown Development Districts

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Following through on the state’s commitment to help revitalize downtowns and surrounding neighborhoods in Delaware’s neediest areas, Governor Markell today announced he has selected Seaford, Dover, and Wilmington for designation as Downtown Development Districts (DDDs). Under the DDD program, the first three DDDs must include one District in each county.

“The Downtown Development District program has generated a high level of enthusiasm and interest, and I was impressed by the overall quality of the applications submitted,” said Governor Markell. “In addition to demonstrating significant need, each of the winning applicants submitted thoughtful plans with detailed strategies to strengthen neighborhoods, spur private investment, and improve housing opportunities for residents of all walks of life. On behalf of the state, I look forward to working in partnership with the winning applicants as they make their plans a reality.”

The DDD program was created by legislation proposed by the Governor and passed unanimously by the General Assembly last year. Under the program, designated Districts will be entitled to receive significant development incentives and other benefits to spur investment and community development.

A total of nine localities applied to have a portion of their city, town, or unincorporated area designated as a DDD.  The applications were evaluated in accordance with three main criteria: (1) need and impact; (2) the quality of the district plan submitted by the applicant; and (3) local incentives offered.

Among other benefits, investors who make qualified real estate investments in DDDs will be entitled to receive grants of up to 20% of the cost of their investments. The DDD Grant program is modeled in part after a Virginia program that has proven successful in leveraging significant amounts of private investment in under-served areas.

The DDD Grant program, which was funded last year by a $7 million allocation by the General Assembly, will be administered by the Delaware State Housing Authority (DSHA). DSHA will begin accepting DDD Grant applications next week. Events to celebrate the designation and allow local officials to discuss the details of their plans will be held in each of the three designated districts this week as follows:

  • Monday, January 12th at 9:30 a.m., Seaford City Hall, 414 High Street, Seaford
  • Tuesday, January 13th at 11 a.m., Bayard Plaza, 200 W. Loockerman Street, Dover
  • Wednesday, January 14th at 9 a.m., DCAD, 600 N. Market Street, Wilmington

More information on the events to come in the Governor’s Week/Day Ahead schedules.