Growing employment in Wilmington leads to population growth in downtown

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Delaware’s largest city hit a milestone laster year. More than 32,600 people are now employed now in Wilmington, the commercial real estate firm CBRE reported.

The figure is the highest since 1999.

Although office vacancies are many in Wilmingtonn, companies have been able to house more employees within their square footage.

The growth comes after a long period of cutbacks by DuPont, Bank of America/MBNA and other longtime employers.

The city is now waiting to see if the job gains lead to population growth.

Overall, Wilmington has lost population for the past 4 years straight. Still, Wilmington’s downtown has seen a fluctuating but ultimately growing population. Population growth in downtown is up 1.1 percent since 2012.

The growth can be partially attributed to growth in multifamily construction in the central business district.

Five hundred new multifamily units were added to the inventory during the past five years, including 180 property conversions.

CBRE noted that newer units are needed. Sixty percent of all rented units are in structures built before 1960 (compared to ~30% nationwide), according to the U.S. Census.

Rental units are being absorbed quickly A total of 105 units have been absorbed in Wilmington’s newest multifamily project The Residences at Mid-Town Park alone.

The apartment growth has been accompanied by more retail and dining spots, CBRE reported.

Stitch House Brewery opened in 2018, as well as new restaurants Margaux, Farmer & the Cow, and Bardea.

Delaware’s Downtown Development District program awarded nearly $3 million for revitalization efforts in Wilmington at the start of 2018, which will add additional retail, hospitality, dining and community-building options to the city. I

n addition, a 12,000 square foot food hall, DE CO, is under development at the DuPont Building.

ESRI’s forecast for downtown Wilmington’s population calls for a healthy 6 percent growth over the next 5 years.

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