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3/18/2016
New construction in a crowded Brandywine Hundred; rezoning needed for Brandywine Country Club, which is zoned for single family

Perhaps the most discussed, but still not filed, is development of the 111 acres that were the Brandywine Country Club on Shipley Road. Councilman Bob Weiner says the conceptual proposal calls for apartment buildings adjacent to Widener University Law School and Concord Square, row homes in the center of the plot, and single-family homes closer to Shipley Road. Haggerty says rezoning is needed.

New construction in a crowded Brandywine Hundred
Harry Themal 12:58 p.m. EDT March 18, 2016

While lower New Castle County has many wide open space potentials for development, Brandywine Hundred is 98 percent developed, according to the best estimate of the county’s Land Use Department.

Yet, both large- and small-scale projects are on the drawing board, as residents of the area found out this month in a summary from George Haggerty, acting land use manager.

In a meeting at Brandywine High School, sponsored by the Council of Civic Organizations, Haggerty’s PowerPoint presentation was met with tough questions and skepticism from many of the residents.

The plan I found most ridiculous was a Wawa gas station and store at the Concord Pike entrance of the Rocky Run shopping center that includes a ShopRite supermarket. A WSFS bank would be built on the same site that has been the home for Leon’s Garden World.

It hasn’t been that long since a Wawa opened on the same side of the Concord Pike, just about one mile north of where the new gas pumps and store would go. It’s as if Wawa wants to be as ubiquitous as Starbucks seems to be.

That small site is next door to a major construction project, three buildings of a Brandywine campus for Wilmington College, on land owned by Woodlawn Trustees at the  southwest corner of Concord Pike and Beaver Valley Road. That former cornfield is where Stoltz Real Estate Partners abandoned its plans in the face of strong opposition.

The college has not filed its final proposal yet, Haggerty says, but development is projected as a 10-year project. One idea to keep from impacting the heavy Concord Pike traffic is that the college can have staggered class hours. The intersection, into which Naamans Road also feeds, is often gridlocked, especially at times when the Concord Mall and the Brandywine Town Center are having sales.

Haggerty says a comprehensive study of Concord Pike is in the future, with one possible solution the development of relief routes to take traffic off 202.

Some older Brandywine Hundred sites will also see development that will add to traffic. Along Silverside Road is the half century old Concord Plaza, now the site of smaller office buildings, many of which now house doctors’ offices. Redevelopment will come in stages but eventually all those older structures will be gone, replaced by four and five story apartment buildings, some of which will have retail space on the ground floors. The 45-acre site may also be linked to the adjacent Talleyville Shopping Center, which fronts on both Concord Pike and Silverside Road.

Perhaps the most discussed, but still not filed, is development of the 111 acres that were the Brandywine Country Club on Shipley Road. Councilman Bob Weiner says the conceptual proposal calls for apartment buildings adjacent to Widener University Law School and Concord Square, row homes in the center of the plot, and single-family homes closer to Shipley Road. Haggerty says rezoning is needed.

Also impacting Shipley Road will be an assisted living facility, Harbor Chase, for 120 residents, about to be built on the site of the old Martine’s Nursery north of Silverside Road. Last week we touched on Branmar Commons, 12 acres that need rezoning for stores and homes on the Forwood School property on Silverside Road near Marsh Road.

A project that seems to have little opposition is on the site of the former Wanamaker store on Augustine Cutoff . Incyte is building a four-story office building to house hundreds of new employees and a 473 car parking garage.

The coming changes are bound to test the patience of residents and provide debates for the 120 civic associations of the Council of Civic Associations of Brandywine Hundred. A key element in all the projects will be traffic studies and road capacity.

Harry Themal has written an editorial page column since 1989.


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