The proposed transformation of the long-vacant Barley Mill Plaza site near Greenville is potentially facing opposition, according to the developer that owns the property, and he’s encouraging supporters of his plans to share their views in advance of a pivotal county meeting scheduled for next week.
In an email to “Friends of Barley Mill Plaza,” Pettinaro company CEO Greg Pettinaro elaborated on his company’s plans for the site saying that the mixed-use development “embraces the vision of a community destination which integrates the multitude of housing and retail amenities with a nature trail, natural meadow and open courtyard.”
But he voiced concerns over “a group who is contesting our project approvals” based on their apprehension around expanded retail activity and traffic.
In February, Pettinaro unveiled plans for a 500,000 square feet mixed-use redevelopment of the property, including luxury residential units, office and retail space featuring a new Wegmans grocery store.
The proposal for upscale townhomes, flats and shopping met with strong support from several hundred community members and public officials when Pettinaro met with them then at A.I. DuPont High School.
This new Pettinaro development plan followed a contentious, years-long battle between community leaders, politicians and the site’s former owner Stoltz Management, over Stoltz’s initial 2.8 million square foot proposed Barley Mill redevelopment, which had been likened to the King of Prussia mall.
Pettinaro says that while his downsized plans do not require rezoning, variances from the New Castle County Board of Adjustment are necessary for issues like parking and setbacks.
The Board meets on Thursday, June 27 at 6 pm to consider these requests, and Pettinaro’s letter encourages supporters of his plans to attend or contact the Board voicing their support.
Pettinaro estimates the project will cost $135 million, with 300 to 400 new jobs created during construction, and as many as 1,300 employees could ultimately work at the site. The entirety of his email is reprinted below.
Friends of Barley Mill Plaza,
We are moving along on our approvals for Barley Mill Plaza. To refresh, the Barley Mill plan proposes modern, luxury residential uses consisting of 33 townhome units and 80 residential flats, along with supporting amenities and at least 11 acres of green/open space.
In addition, approximately 309,500 total square feet of non-residential space is proposed, of which approximately 160,800 square feet is devoted to office use and 148,700 square feet is devoted to retail and Wegmans. These amenities are linked through a thoughtful network of sidewalks, which also connect to three DART First State bus stops to promote convenient use of public transportation.
The Project embraces the vision of a community destination which integrates the multitude of housing and retail amenities with a nature trail, natural meadow and open courtyard. Abundant, attractive landscaping will make the revitalized Barley Mill Plaza a beautified, comfortable and attractive place to visit.
While we have great support from most of the neighbors and community there is a group who is contesting our project approvals. Their primary concerns focus on two main topics:
1. Opposition to any retail from Falkland Road to Route 202
We are currently zoned for office space and are applying for a Mixed-Use project under the current zoning. While we aren’t asking for a zoning change, we do need some approvals variances to obtain the Mixed Use designation.
The opposition wants us to keep offices on the site and not pursue any retail or grocery. The problem with this is New Castle County can’t utilize 550,000 square feet of class B office space. This project site has been vacant for 8 years and is quickly becoming an eyesore. Isn’t it time to reinvigorate this area?
The opposition does not want any increase in traffic than what exists today. We all can understand their position regarding traffic, who doesn’t desire an open road to getting anywhere you want to go at any time? We currently have 550,000 square feet of zoned office space which, when leased, would also result in increased traffic. Arguably pure office space would produce a dump of traffic at the prime rush hours, versus a more spread out flow.
I know it’s our project, but I feel that this will be one of the nicest projects in New Castle County.
There is a Board of Adjustment meeting on June 27th at 6:00 in the New Castle County Government Center 87 Read’s Way New Castle, DE. The reason for the meeting with the Board is to get our required variances. These variances include parking, setbacks, opacity and percentage of office space.
I can supply a list of all variances if you want them. This is one of the 3 important hurdles we need to clear before we can obtain final approvals. If we are not successful in securing these approvals, Barley Mill will remain as an office complex.
If you support this project and have the time, please come join us at this meeting. I know everyone is busy, but if I didn’t think we needed the support I would not ask.
If you are unable to come please write a letter to the board showing your support. Email or snail mail (to arrive by Monday) to:
Chairman Burt and members of the Board of Adjustment
New Castle County Board of Adjustment
87 Reads Way
New Castle, Delaware 19720
c/o Melissa Hughes, Planner II