On Tuesday, New Castle County Council unanimously granted a level of service waiver to support the proposed redevelopment of Barley Mill Plaza. Tarabicos Grosso is assisting Pettinaro Development Company with plans to transform the existing vacant office complex into an amenity-rich mixed-use community, anchored by Delaware’s first Wegmans grocery store.
Throughout ongoing discussions with the community, traffic was often a topic of concern. A Traffic Impact Study conducted earlier this year assessed the anticipated effects of the proposed development on vehicular traffic surrounding the property. Twenty-three intersections were analyzed for their quality of traffic flow, or level of service, during morning and evening peak hours as well as during Saturday peak hours. Three intersections were found to exhibit deficiencies in levels of service for both cases, which triggered discussions to either construct traffic improvements or pursue a level of service waiver from the County.
After DelDOT’s review of the Traffic Impact Study several months later, it was recommended that the developer pursue the level of service waiver instead of overbuilding the subject intersections. Though this option involved a great deal of research, coordination of a Traffic Mitigation Agreement with DelDOT, and regular meetings with stakeholders, including the community, DelDOT, and the Department of Land Use, it was evident that the waiver was the most appropriate choice, and would be well-justified by the project’s features and amenities and anticipated economic impact.
Walkability and bikeability are incorporated into the project’s design to benefit the transportation network, and ride-sharing and flexible employee shifts will also be encouraged to reduce vehicular traffic during peak hour periods. Five new DART bus stops will be established around the site, and public transportation routes will connect with the nearby City of Wilmington.
Tarabicos Grosso partner Mike Hoffman spearheaded the efforts to obtain this approval. The mixed-use redevelopment represents an approximately $135 million immediate reinvestment in the property, and is projected to result in a net-positive annual fiscal impact to New Castle County.
The project is also projected to bring between 1,000 and 1,300 new, permanent fulltime and part-time jobs to the area, with Wegmans set to hire approximately 400 people and several hundred more construction jobs estimated over the next several years.
New Castle County Council’s approval of the waiver was an enormous step for the proposed development of one of the most controversial properties in the County. Since 2003, the Council has granted only one other level of service waiver.
The revitalization of Barley Mill Plaza will now continue to the Record Plan stages of the approval process.
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