Harvey Hanna plan for GM site envisions business, distribution and fulfillment campus

Demolition, lower profile buildings, green space in exploratory plan


Harvey Hanna & Associates, Inc. has submitted an exploratory plan for its redevelopment of the former General Motors plant near Newport that envisions a business, fulfillment and distribution campus.

The Brownfield Redevelopment plans were provided to the New Castle County Department of Land Use under its Redevelopment Ordinance, call for the demolition of the three-million-square-foot former automobile manufacturing plant structure at 801 Boxwood Road.

“As a Delaware-based firm with deep personal and professional roots in this area, Harvey Hanna knows first-hand the significance that the former General Motors plant property has to Wilmington and New Castle County,” stated Thomas J. Hanna, president of Harvey Hanna & Associates. “These plans represent a critical first step in rebuilding this storied property into a modern distribution and business campus that can provide a critical source of jobs and serve as a new and lasting economic engine for the entire region.”

3 million square feet

The demolition would befollowed by the construction of three million square feet in new commercial space spread across four buildings with a lower overall footprint than the previous structure that at one time turned out hundreds of thousands of cars a year.

If approved, the buildings would be constructed in multiple phases, with additional green space, improved stormwater management and new landscaping buffers added to the site.

The plans are conceptual in nature and must be reviewed and approved by New Castle County as well as other state regulatory agencies.

The redevelopment of the former General Motors plant – which at its peak employed more than 6,000 – is the first step in a wider effort by Harvey Hanna in and around the Newport area.

Part of a largervision for Newport

The firm is pursuing the development of 400,000 square feet of mixed-use commercial and transit-oriented development in nearby Newport.

Harvey Hanna’s plans for the Newport development also include a river walk trail for walking, biking and other recreation, as well as a Newport passenger rail station.

The Newport station has been mentioned in proposals on rail service in the region

The river walk would connect with the New Castle County bicycle and pedestrian trail network that is currently under construction.

“When Harvey Hanna purchased this site last year, we always knew our immediate goal was to modernize the former plant property and provide new jobs to the hardworking residents of Delaware,” said Hanna.“However, the resulting economic impact of this transformation also holds the potential to transform the greater Newport area, and position this area for success for decades to come.”

The exploratory plan was created in conjunction with Newport, Del.-based Apex Engineering, a civil engineering firm with nearly 25 years of experience in New Castle County and the surrounding area.

In partnership with Harvey Hanna, Apex will analyze and devise plans for the redevelopment, including the preparation of all preliminary and final site plans for review and approval by New Castle County.

Hybrid car project died

Harvey Hanna acquired the Boxwood Road property in 2017. The siteis located along the I-95 corridor and offers access to markets including Philadelphia, New York City, Baltimore, and Washington, D.C.

The company has cleaned up weeds and other outside eyesores at the property, which ended up under the ownership of Chinese parts maker Wanxiang, which was the successful bidder for the remains of Fisker operations.

Fisker had been slated to build an electric hybrid car at the site but lost the remaining portion of its federal loan when financial problems deepened.

Automakers departed this region, closing assembly plants over the years in Delaware, New Jersey, Virginia and Maryland. The supply chain needed for just in time manufacturing never developed in the region, leading to higher costs for parts and components.

The property has access to area rail lines, allowing distribution or fulfillment companies to both ship and receive goods from across the region, and is not far from the Port of Wilmington, a release noted.

Founded in 1998, Harvey Hanna & Associates, Inc. is a Newport-based real estate development company.

Led by Thom Harvey and Thomas Hanna, the company has acquired and developed more than 5.2 million square feet of space, including 2.8 million square feet of industrial space.

Among Harvey Hanna’s developments is the Twin Spans Business Park in New Castle, a former Chicago Bridge & Iron site.

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