UD expansion, closure of towers cause concern
Long-simmering tension between the University of Delaware and Newark’s government and residents was exacerbated this year.
In the midst of expanding the student body by 1,000 undergraduates and 4,000 graduate students, UD announced it would close the Christiana Towers by 2023 and take ownership of the University Courtyard Apartments next summer, 10 years earlier than planned.
The closure of the Towers will result in the loss of 1,300 student beds, and the city will lose $770,000 in tax revenue from the Courtyard.
In September, UD and city officials met for a rare joint public workshop, and both sides pledged to work together better. Less than two months later, though, UD stunned city officials by announcing it would close the towers in May 2019, four years earlier than previously stated. UD officials have yet to provide a clear explanation as to why the towers are closing early, though a bad mold problem is likely part of the reason.
The exact effects of losing student beds as the university population grows are not yet known, but many fear it will push developers to build more off-campus housing and push more students into residential neighborhoods. building in the Park N Shop with 12 apartments and more retail space. City council voted it down in March, citing concerns from neighbors, but reversed course three months later and OK’d it unanimously.
Other notable projects under consideration include: a major renovation of College Square Shopping Center that would include 305 apartments, a project to replace UD’s Dickinson dorms with 189 student apartments and a proposal to replace an office building on Casho Mill Road with 48 apartments and new office space.
Two developers also proposed building hotels on Main Street. Lang Development Group wants to build 147 hotel rooms, a restaurant, 19,500 square feet of office space and a parking garage at 96 E Main St., across from the Academy Street intersection. Meanwhile, Danneman & Danneman LLC’s plan calls for demolishing the building at 132 E. Main St. – which houses Tasty Wok, Playa Bowls, Margherita’s Pizza – and building an 88-room hotel, 12 apartments, retail space and a parking garage.
An artist’s rendering shows the seven-story hotel Lang Development Group is proposing for 96 E. Main St.
Newark Charter School students participate in a nationwide walkout in March to call for an end to gun violence.
Voters head into the polling place at Maclary Elementary School in November.