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Plans unveiled for $100 million Riverfront East development in Wilmington

Plans unveiled for $100 million Riverfront East development in Wilmington

Riverfront Development Corporation of Delaware  has unveiled comprehensive plans for Riverfront East, an 86.3-acre development.

Much like RDC’s development on the west side of the river, the $100 million Riverfront East project aims to revitalize a former industrial area, according to a release.

The first phase in the eastward expansion will begin this summer; it is expected to cost $30 million and generate approximately 179  construction opportunities.


This phase includes public infrastructure projects to make everything more accessible and safer for auto, pedestrian, and bicycle traffic, as well as mass transit. Construction will include stormwater management, roadways, and parking areas, a Riverwalk, and a central green. RDC anticipates finishing phase one by the end of 2023.

RDC has acquired key parcels needed for the project and is near completion of bringing the land up to environmental standards for business and residential development.

The organization will begin vetting potential developers, with the goal of ultimately allotting 1.9 million square feet for office space, 357,000 square feet for retail, and 4.7 million square feet for 4,291 residential units when the project is complete.

The unveiling came on Friday morning at one of the development sites.

“From the moment we put the wheels in motion in 2016, every element in the planning and development of Riverfront East has focused on ensuring its opportunities and experiences are valuable and accessible to all,” said Megan McGlinchey, RDC’s executive director. “We’re excited to move full speed ahead on this mission—one engineered to empower personal and economic growth, fulfillment, and achievement for present communities while building the strong, sustainable foundations of continued progress for future generations.”

“Throughout this past year, we’ve seen what Delawareans can do when we come together around a common cause. We’re beating this pandemic because we are working together and believe Delaware will come out of this crisis stronger than ever before,” said Delaware Gov.  John Carney. “There are few better ways to celebrate Delaware’s strength, resilience, and bright future ahead than by focusing on the hope and promise of the Riverfront East vision. What had been two vast, unused brownfields on either side of the River will soon be united in one transformative community that will change the way people live and work in Wilmington, drive economic growth, create good jobs, and improve the quality of life for all Delawareans.”

Also participating in the unveiling event was Mayor Michael Purzycki of Wilmington, who served as RDC’s first executive director from 1996–2016.

“For 20 years I had the privilege of serving as the Executive Director of the RDC. During that time many dedicated board members, governors and staff worked tirelessly to create something special out of an industrial graveyard,” said Mayor Purzycki. “Now we are moving east with more than 86 acres of land and so much to build on. The possibilities are endless, and I have no doubt RDC and its private sector partners in this project will enjoy even greater success in the future.”

The ultimate vision is to develop the land in a way that puts everything anyone could ever want or need to live, visit or do business in the Riverfront East district right at their fingertips, the release stated.

Riverfront Development Corp. is a quarter-century-old state-owned corporation chartered to redevelop former brownfield industrial areas along the Christina River.

One goal has been public access that includes a riverwalk, a wildlife refuge,  and a connection to the Markell bike and walking trail that runs from the riverfront to New Castle.

To date, the redevelopment efforts have led hundreds of millions of dollars in investments in apartments, condominiums, retail and commercial development, as well as new residents coming to the city.