After nearly two years of careful planning with a goal of maintaining the area’s historic character, a major new luxury apartment complex is set to open soon on the banks of the Brandywine River in the heart of Wilmington.
The Falls, at the former site of Bancroft Mills, is the largest new apartment complex to open in the city in decades. The four buildings on the property will be designed with a fresh take on the site’s industrial heritage, featuring a range of modern amenities, incomparable views and flexible rental options to suit single or multiple tenant renters.
Capano Residential is in the final stages of phase one development of what will be four luxury apartment buildings housing 345 rental units, and they began accepting applications today from renters who can move in early next year.
Studios, one, two and three-bedroom units will be available. The one and two-bedroom units could have a study, a balcony, both or neither of those.
Landing this plum property – where apartment dwellers will either enjoy views overlooking the cliffs of Alapocas Run State Park or the coursing Brandywine River – makes this the most notable project ever in Capano’s residential portfolio.
“It really is a dream project for us. It is unlike any other location in Delaware or other cities, for that matter, around us. We have been eyeing this site for quite some time – about four years or more,” said Christie Haupt, director of multifamily development for Capano.
Haupt has been involved with every step of the design, and she says the quiet, environmentally and historically rich location essentially drove every decision. The Falls, located at 200 Mill Road, sits tucked behind the beautiful neighborhoods surrounding the Delaware Art Museum, a stone’s throw from 40 Acres and shopping and restaurants in Trolley Square.
The Falls is also located just off a ½ mile walk and bike trail that connects the blue granite cliffs and natural rock climbing wall within Alapocas Run State Park to a six-mile path that winds past the Brandywine Zoo in one direction and the Can-Do playground in north Wilmington.
While the footprint of urban living can be quite limited, with most apartments expanding vertically, The Falls is located on a sprawling 15 acres. Capano is keeping each structure to four stories, all featuring floor to ceiling windows to take full advantage of the views.
“It really does not feel like you were in the city when you’re in that project. It’s so magical there at the Alapocas Run State Park,” says Haupt.
Capano has designated 24,000 square feet of indoor/outdoor amenity space with full views of the river and a mix of materials including exposed concrete flooring throughout. The two-story space, framed in floor to ceiling glass windows is filled with comfortable nooks where people can sit down with their computer or maybe work remotely, is meant to be a serene space enjoyed by residents.
To manage acoustics, Capano plans to install several large area rugs and employ the use of upholstered pieces designed to meet sound attenuation criteria.
“We have never had 10,000 square feet (referring to the indoor area) of space anywhere,” said Haupt. “The goal here has always been to create an experience for the residents outside of their home. The apartments are beautiful, the finishes are beautiful, but the amenity space – having full views of Alapocas Run State Park and the Brandywine Creek – were the most important to us. We wanted to constantly have the view, the location, the outdoor space, designed around the views.”
Amenities include a media lounge, entertainment kitchen, fireside lounge, billiards table, study niches, a library and a state-of-the-art fitness center.
The outdoor space features an expansive 14,000 square foot cantilevered concrete river deck that sits several feet over the cascading water and offers unobstructed views along the Brandywine. The site also includes an outdoor pool.
“We have done everything we can to protect the view. We are using frameless glass railing around the entire river deck. So you get incredible sound, like that rumbling water, especially after a good rain,” says Haupt.
Capano had always hoped to use much of the exterior structure of the long-abandoned fabric mills, a once iconic structure that was the largest cotton dyeing and finishing works in the world and the last remaining textile industry on the Brandywine.
But in the fall of 2016, most of the buildings were destroyed in a fire that took more than a week to quell. At the time, the property was under the ownership of developer Buccini/Pollin Group, which had planned to develop 346 multifamily residential units. They later sold the site to Capano.
“Our intention was actually to repurpose some of the original buildings and use them in our design. That [the fire] was really devastating because that was the anticipation. We really wanted it to feel like the buildings have been there for a very long time and were possibly part of the original mill. So, we have designed the buildings, kind of with that feeling in mind,” said Haute.
Capano designed the new “boxy, factory-style” structures as an homage to the mill, using corrugated metal, repurposed brick, locally-sourced stone, and large factory-style windows.
“It was really important that it felt like the materials that were used on the original mill, including the look of the blue granite that was used at the original Bancroft Mills,” said Haupt.
Designers have minimized outdoor lighting so tenants on their own terraces or on the large outdoor deck can enjoy bright stars against those nice dark night skies. Low-level foot lighting frames outdoor spaces, entrances and walkways.
Pricing, which can be found on their website, starts at:
1 bedroom: $1600
2 bedroom: $2400
3 bedroom: $2900