Buccini/Pollin buys square block of buildings in LOMA area of Downtown Wilmington

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Wilmington-based developer, The Buccini/Pollin Group, Inc. has purchased Lincoln Square.

Located at 300-318 N Market Street, Wilmington,  Lincoln Square is a collection of ten contiguous buildings totaling 48,000 square feet. The buildings encompass a city block.

Lincoln Square was part of an effort spearheaded by the Wilmington Renaissance Corp. to redevelop lower Market Street (LOMA), an area with many buildings that had been in a state of decline.

While a great deal of redevelopment has taken place, aided by constructing a new courthouse on King Street, LOMA has struggled to gain critical mass and new residents.

Wilmington faces challenges in redeveloping a downtown with a far larger size than is commonly seen in cities with about 70,000 residents. This is because the population of Wilmington peaked in the early 1940s at about 112,000.

Lincoln Square was designed to provide retail and office space. However, demand for smaller offices in the complex never fully developed, with the Covid-19 pandemic accelerating the trend.

BPG plans to convert the upper floor office space into 39 residential apartments and maintain the existing ground-floor retail. The company closed on the acquisition on June 3, 2021.

Apartment demand has remained strong downtown, with Buccini/Pollin now turning its attention From the north end of Market Street near Rodney Square to the LOMA area, where it focused on retail projects and The Queen entertainment complex.

BPG recently opened The Cooper, an apartment development at the furniture store site, and announced plans for an apartment complex just off Market on Shipley Street.

Originally developed in the 1800s as a collection of individual townhomes, the Lincoln Square property was first converted to retail space in the years following the Civil War.

By the end of the 19th century, Lippincott & Co occupied most of the block from 306-314 Market Street. The department store was “one of the leading merchandise locations in Wilmington” for over 60 years, as described by the Wilmington City Directory in 1940.

Market Preservation Initiatives, LLC completed a comprehensive interior and exterior historic renovation of the buildings in 2008, introducing ground-floor retail, adjoining commercial office space on the upper floor, and a common entry lobby.

The property was then renamed Lincoln Square in honor of Abraham Lincoln’s visit to Wilmington on June 10, 1848. At the time, Lincoln addressed members of the Whig political party from the balcony of the Fourth Street Market House, which was located in the center of 4th Street between Orange and Market Streets. This was Lincoln’s only documented visit to Delaware.

BPG will adopt the Lincoln Square name and invest $12.1 million in the conversion and related improvements.

BPGS Construction will manage the construction, Studio Jaed Architects will oversee the design, ResideBPG will handle residential leasing, and Virtus Realty Advisors will handle commercial leasing. The project is expected to be completed in spring 2022.

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