"Fast start promised" by Claymont Renaissance Village's new "master planner" Victoria Davis, President of Mid Urban Atlantic
www.Delaforum.com June 2008
FAST START PROMISED: Now that streets and sewer lines are being put in, actual construction of Renaissance Village is soon to come, according to Victoria Davis, President of Mid Urban Atlantic. "If you put in infrastructure you have to build quickly," to recoup that investment, she told the Claymont Community Coalition. She said the proposed revision of the plan for the 'new urbanist village' was structured so that it can be approved administratively by county government once the Claymont Design Review Advisory Committee signs off on it. That is expected to happen at the committee's meeting on June 25.
"We're working with Commonwealth [Group] and three different developers" with a view to starting construction of a townhouse component before the end of the year so the first units can be sold during the "spring market," she told a coalition meeting on June 19. It will take "somewhat longer," she said, to build a retail complex and apartments at the community's main entrance from Philadelphia Pike on an extension of Manor Avenue. She described her Bethesda, Md.-based firm as the "master developer" and said the revised plan represents "newer and better ways to develop this community than what were on the original plan."
Wilmington Area Planning Council is about to get community approval for the design of a new Claymont train station, but it's likely to be several years before the community gets the station.
"Development of the Claymont Steel property will determine if the project goes forward," senior planner David Gula told the Claymont Coalition. He said there was a "handshake agreement" with the former owner of the plant that would permit construction of an access road over the tracks and building the new station several yards north of the present one, which is located on a banked curve. Since the plant was sold to a Portland, Ore.-based subsidiary of a Russian company, progress in that direction has bogged down. As it is, Myrtle Avenue, the sole existing access, cannot handle the traffic generated by increasing patronage, he said.
It also will be necessary to raise a significant amount of local money to help finance the $16 million project if federal dollars to pay most of the cost are to be obtained, Gula said at a coalition meeting on June 20. Building a parking garage to serve the station would require an additional $10 million. The council will present the proposed design -- a contemporary two-story structure with platforms at train-vestibule level -- for public review on June 25. While the design is expected to meet approval from attenders at that session, "it is not a done deal," Gula said. "I'm not telling you I have something I'm ready to move forward with now."
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