UD ex­pan­sion, clo­sure of tow­ers cause con­cern

Newark Post - - YEAR IN REVIEW -

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.

SUB­MIT­TED IM­AGE

An artist’s ren­der­ing shows the seven-story ho­tel Lang De­vel­op­ment Group is propos­ing for 96 E. Main St.

NE­WARK POST PHOTO BY JOSH SHAN­NON

Ne­wark Char­ter School stu­dents par­tic­i­pate in a na­tion­wide walk­out in March to call for an end to gun vi­o­lence.

NE­WARK POST PHOTO BY JOSH SHAN­NON

Vot­ers head into the polling place at Maclary Ele­men­tary School in Novem­ber.

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