STAR Tower beginning to rise at UD
10-story building under construction at former Chrysler site
Destined to be one of the tallest buildings in Newark, the STAR Tower is beginning to rise on the University of Delaware’s STAR Campus.
The 10-story building, which developer Ernie Delle Donne refers to as a “hood ornament” for the sprawling property on South College Avenue, is expected to be completed by August 2018. Framing for the building began earlier this spring.
“We’re excited to go vertical and start bringing an urban feel to the campus,” Delle Donne said.
While the STAR Campus, formerly the Chrysler assembly plant, is still in its infancy, UD officials envision a future for the site as an urban-inspired campus centered around a new transportation hub and featuring research and development space surrounded by parks, restaurants, retail stores and a hotel.
Delle Donne has development rights for a 16-acre portion of the site. His first
building is occupied primarily by UD’s College of Health Sciences, as well as commercial tenants, including SevOne, Independence Prosthetics, Glasgow Medical Aid Unit and the Delaware Technology Park business incubator.
The $40 million tower will be located behind that original building. The College of Health Sciences will lease floors two through seven, with the top three floors available to other commercial tenants.
The first floor will include an auditorium, a demonstration kitchen and two commercial spaces, which will likely be occupied by a restaurant, coffee shop or fitness facility.
No commercial tenants have been announced.
“The goal is to lease remaining vacancies to tenants that can supplement UD,” said Jamie Vari, of leasing agent JLL.
“The main attraction being able to partner with and have synergy with UD,” Delle Donne added.
For Kathleen Matt, dean of the College of Health Sciences, the tower represents an immense opportunity. The college will occupy roughly 50,000 square feet of the new building.
“It will just do an enormous amount for us,” Matt said.
Since expanding to the STAR Campus five years ago, the college has increased its interaction with the community. Its current space there contains a physical therapy clinic, nurse-managed primary care center and a speech clinic as well as labs and other research space.
“Working in the labs are all these students. They run into the patients and their families and caregivers and that affects how they think and what they’re interested in and it really drives their studies,” Matt said. “What you wind up having is research and work that is really tightly coupled to what the problems are right now.”
The tower will contain a simulation lab, sleep lab, audiology lab, cardiovascular lab and a health care innovation lab as well as office space and other facilities for researchers.
Matt also looks forward to collaborating with other future tenants of the building.
“One of the reasons we really wanted to be in the tower was because we really want that kind of collaboration with other companies and businesses,” she said. “Health care challenges are so complex, you really need more disciplines than just people who are focused on health care.”
An artist’s rendering shows the 10-story tower being built at the STAR Campus.