Updated: County Chamber to move to new quarters on Wilmington Riverfront

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Shipyard Center. Pettinaro photo.
Shipyard Center. Pettinaro photo.

The New Castle County Chamber of Commerce will move to new quarters on the Wilmington Riverfront, effective June 1.

President Mark Kleinschmidt announced Friday the Chamber will move to the Shipyard Center at 900 Justison Street. The shipyard is owned by Riverfront developer Pettinaro.

The formal announcement is expected at the chamber’s annual dinner on Monday night at the nearby Chase Center on the Riverfront.

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The County Chamber hasbeen located at 12 Penns Way for a decade. However, the owner, the Delaware River and Bay Authority wanted the building for other uses. The Penns Way building is near the New Castle County Airport, which is operated by the River and Bay Authority.

The Chamber last year saw more than 20,000 visits to its offices for committee meetings, networking group meetings, business education seminars and other events.

“As we searched for a new home, we wanted to find something that would add value to your membership. Our goal was to find a location that provided: easy access for our members; free parking for our visitors; an appealing work space for our staff; and an exciting and attractive venue for our business activities and our Emerging Enterprise Center. We believe our new space on the Riverfront meets all these goals and more,” Kleinschmidt wrote in a letter to members,” Kleinschmidt wrote in a letter to members.

The space is the former site of the University of Phoenix and the Chase Center on the Riverfront.

“Our new facility will accommodate three distinct components: Chamber offices, the Emerging Enterprise Center, and a business and conference center featuring meeting rooms, event space, and open, collaborative space. The collaborative space will serve as an attractive and comfortable “clubhouse” area for our members and our Emerging Enterprise Center companies,” Kleinschmidt wrote.

He went on to write that the new location “sends a strong message about our commitment to economic development in the City of Wilmington. It will enhance our ability to serve the 250 city businesses that are currently members of our Chamber and our ability to grow that membership. At the same time, it will be an attractive and easily accessed destination for our members from throughout New Castle County.”

The County Chamber started out as an organization for the Newark area but expanded to the entire county. Before moving to the New Castle site, it operated for many years off Churchmans Road in the Christiana Mall area.

The Shipyard Center started life as an outlet center on the Riverfront, but has been converted toan office, restaurant, and service business center.

Reports of the chamber seeking new office space and the DRBA seeking other options for its building had been making the rounds for months in commercial real estate circles.

DRBA spokesman James Salmon stated that the DRBA has been showing the facility to an aviation related business looking at expansion. Nothing is certain at this time.

“Nothing is certain at this time. However, given the location of the property and limited space available at the airport, the DRBA has strategically prioritized this site for future aviation-related opportunities,” Salmon stated.

Aviation-related activities and employment have been growing at the airport.

The chamber will occupy 13.040 square feet. Rob Sena was thein houseagent for Pettinaro, with Neil Killian of Emory Hill serving asagentfor the tenant.

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