New businesses planned at Westown, Auto Park, and on Main Street.
A number of national brand retail stores, hotels, and restaurants are coming to Middletown in 2015, with construction for many of them set to begin in early January.
At least 10 major businesses are coming in 2015 to Westown Town Center, according to Jim Tancredi of DSM Commercial – the real estate broker for the properties, off U.S. Route 301. The firm, which in 2013 signed on the Texas Roadhouse and Westown Movies, has finalized the leasing agreements with five businesses, and will sign more at the end of January.
Tancredi told the Transcript that the businesses that have been confirmed are: the craft store chain, Michael’s; clothing retailer, Marshall’s; pet store chain, Petco; fast food chain, Wendy’s; and car care service center, Valvoline.
The businesses coming to Westown have already received the approvals from the town and will be located near Walmart and Kohl’s.
“We’re moving quickly,” he told the Transcript. “People in Middletown are going to be happy with the lineup for shopping and eating in Westown.”
Already Westown has become a major destination in Middletown. The development project has added nearly 500 homes through the creation of neighborhoods such as St. Anne's, South Ridge and Spring Arbor, as well as 225 acres of commercial and industrial development that have included Walmart, Kohl's, Walgreens and Chick-fil-A, among others.
The economy had a chilling effect on the project in recent years and another 1,600 homes and nearly 650 acres of commercial and industrial development are approved, but have yet to be constructed.
But the economy is beginning to pick up again and projects that have been on hold are seeing the green light again according to area commercial developers.
“People are investing again. It’s nice that [Middletown] is growing,” said Thomas Kramedas, owner of Axia Management.
In 2006, Axia Management brought the first chain hotel to Middletown – the Hampton Inn, on Sand Hill Road. Now the company is expecting to break ground on a new 80-room Comfort Suites hotel in 2015 for a 2016 opening.
“We’ve held off for five years putting this hotel on the ground,” Kramedas explained. “It’s nice that [Middletown] is growing again. We’re looking forward to what else is coming to the area.”
In total, the new businesses coming to Middletown will bring over 1,000 jobs, Tancredi said. Middletown should also expect more people from the Eastern Shore of Maryland who will shop in the tax free state.
“They won’t have to go to Christiana or Dover,” Tancredi said. “They’ll find a lot of what they are looking for here.”
MOT Auto Park
At the Nov. 3 Middletown Mayor and Council meeting, commercial developers from Silicato Development presented a plan to build another hotel – a Holiday Inn Express – on a parcel of land on the MOT Auto Park, on U.S. Route 301.
Silicato is also bringing back Grotto Pizza, which once operated a restaurant on North Broad Street from 2003 to 2007. The new restaurant will be built on a parcel adjacent to the proposed Holiday Inn Express.
In total, the commercial developer has 73 acres at the Auto Park for sale, lease, or built-to-suit.
Middletown’s Main Street area will also be getting new businesses. DSM Commercial already has three projects on the works.
Peach Tree Station, a 25,000 square feet shopping facility located Wood and Lake streets, was finalized at the end of November. Fine retailers are expected to become future tenants in the coming months. There is also a building on site that will serve as a restaurant.
“Middletown is ready for higher end shops,” said Rick Clark, the president of Clark Construction – the Bear-based company that built Peach Tree Station. “They are ready for a local butcher where they can buy fine meats. They are ready for finer wine shops.”
Clark Construction is now gearing up to build Main Street Station, a shopping area that will be 80,000 square feet and will be located on West Main and Peterson streets.
DSM is also working on opening a fine dining restaurant on the north west corner of Main Street and North Broad – the location of the old Delaware Trust Bank. The 4,000 square feet restaurant is expected to open sometime in the summer.
Clark said that the projects along Main Street will come with plenty of parking spaces. Peach Tree Station already has 105 parking spots, and the new restaurant on Main Street will have parking for about 40 to 50 cars.
“In the next couple of years Middletown will explode,” said Clark. “It’s going to be incredible here.”