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2/1/2017
Weiner: “It was the du Pont family’s wealth that protected us for 200 years. But now, it falls on us, the current stewards, to protect and preserve these hallowed landscapes”

“It was the du Pont family’s wealth that protected us for 200 years. But now, it falls on us, the current stewards, to protect and preserve these hallowed landscapes,” said New Castle County Councilman Bob Weiner.

Weiner said he had been contacted by “half a dozen” potential buyers who will need permits from the county for any significant development. His favorite potential buyer is a group representing DuPont Country Club members, he said. He declined to state who the other interested parties are, only to say there are both local and national entities.

“I pledge to diligently and actively engage ... to ensure that the DuPont Company’s important and historic affirmation is enshrined in binding legal documentation,” Weiner said.


ERA OF UNCERTAINTY: DuPont Country Club’s future in doubt to neighbors 

KARL BAKER THE NEWS JOURNAL February 2, 2017

Despite financial upheavals in the country club and chemical industries, the generations-old DuPont Country Club has been a good neighbor, said Brandywine Hundred resident Beth Wells.

Groundskeepers keep the quality of the historic facility “top notch,” she said, following a legacy imprinted onto the area by parent company DuPont.

But a planned sale of the 525-acre club property announced Tuesday by DuPont has neighbors wondering what the land will look in the future. A person familiar with the conditions of the sale told The News Journal any buyer would be prohibited from significantly developing the property, but residents and at least one elected official question whether economic pressures for greater residential and commercial buildings will ultimately win out.

“The jury’s out. If it’s a really good company that comes in and is really able to run a good country club, then it could possibly be an improvement, but if it’s sold to a developer,” Wells said, then paused, “then we’re really worried.”

Although Wells is a pharmaceutical consultant, Du-Pont and its country club are regular presences in life – her front yard, along Country Club Drive, looks out at a verdant stretch of the club’s golf course. During periodic visits with her husband, a former DuPont employee, she finds herself appreciating the facility for its inclusiveness, “unlike other country clubs.”

Real estate agent Mary Beth Adelman, whose backyard has views of the club grounds, is withholding judgment about any possible sale until documents are signed stating the buyer will be explicitly prohibited from developing homes on the property.

“You don’t know if it’s true until you’ve seen it in writing,” she said.

The club, which borders the state’s chateau region, was founded in 1920 for DuPont employees. Original facilities consisted of a two-story frame house, a baseball diamond and tennis courts. Golf courses and additional tennis courts were added shortly after opening. The grounds and nearby Brandywine were regular haunts among well-to-do families in 20th-century Delaware.

Many now wonder whether a sale of the country club is also a chip on the facade of state’s historic elite.

“It was the du Pont family’s wealth that protected us for 200 years. But now, it falls on us, the current stewards, to protect and preserve these hallowed landscapes,” said New Castle County Councilman Bob Weiner.

Weiner said he had been contacted by “half a dozen” potential buyers who will need permits from the county for any significant development. His favorite potential buyer is a group representing DuPont Country Club members, he said. He declined to state who the other interested parties are, only to say there are both local and national entities.

“I pledge to diligently and actively engage ... to ensure that the DuPont Company’s important and historic affirmation is enshrined in binding legal documentation,” Weiner said.

DuPont’s Chestnut Run Plaza headquarters employs about 3,000 employees. The Experimental Station along the Brandywine has another 2,500 workers, and the Stine Haskell Research Center, near Newark, adds 600 more.

The company on Tuesday also announced a sale of its historic hotel in downtown Wilmington to developer Buccini/Pollin.

An investigation by The News Journal in 2015 found the Woodlawn Trustees Inc., a Wilmington company whose mission includes land preservation along the Brandywine, quietly released deed restrictions in 2008 that once prohibited development on the DuPont Country Club.

Adelman, like many who live in the vicinity of the country club, has been in the area for decades. She came to Delaware from California as a child during the late 1950s after her father secured a job as an executive at DuPont. Through the decades, the country club anchored nearby communities and kept them desirable, she said.

As a real estate professional today, Adelman worries about the perception of her Carillon Court neighborhood if the adjacent country club were ever to be developed into homes. Although a creek flows next to her home toward the club, construction could tarnish the serenity, she said.

She noted, however, economic pressures shift and today money chases development, pointing to the closure of Hercules Country Club and a proposed 234-unit residential development on that property in Mill Creek.

“But, you know, that’s progress,” Adelman said wryly.

Contact Karl Baker at (302) 324-2329 or kbaker@delawareonline. com



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Latest News:
7/24/2018
  Councilman announces details of redevelopment at former AstraZeneca site
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  We are not developers: Under new ownership the DuPont Country Club will emphasize community
6/9/2018
  Bob Weiner Interview: Preserving & Repurposing Brandywine Hundred and Beaver Valley
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