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8/27/2008
Brandywine Town Center changes includes playground; supported by community and Councilman Weiner. - News Journal

Town Center changes allowed
Owners will add detached building
By ANGIE BASIOUNY • The News Journal • August 27, 2008

WILMINGTON -- Those empty spaces at the Brandywine Town Center might start filling up soon, now that the owners have permission to change the configuration of the shopping complex on Concord Pike.

New Castle County Council voted unanimously Tuesday to amend deed restrictions on the property that owners Acadia Realty Trust said have prevented them from making the most out of the space there. Under the amendment, they will be allowed to lease about 6,000 square feet of now-empty space beneath the large glass dome visible from Naamans Road, and they can build a 45,000-square-foot detached building on the site.

Councilman Robert Weiner, whose district includes the shopping center anchored by Target and Lowe's, hailed the changes as a "final chapter" in a contentious battle over Brandywine Town Center. That battle dates back to the mid-1980s, when residents fought plans to rezone the land -- a former racetrack -- for commercial use. Back then, Weiner said, residents also felt deceived because the shopping center did not turn out as promised.

He said this new plan has been vetted by civic groups, including the Council of Civic Organizations of Brandywine Hundred, which is raising no objection.

"Acadia Realty, the current owners of the [center], concede that the current design has been 'challenging' to lease because of the ill-conceived layout and the lack of mix of uses," said Weiner, R-2nd District. "Acadia has worked hard to overcome the negative stigma felt by many in the community relating to the perception of many broken promises for a predominantly pedestrian-friendly upscale mall made by the prior owners."

Future changes include:
• The commuter park-and-ride lot near a day care at the back of the complex will be moved to a location near Naamans and Shipley roads.
• Two undeveloped restaurant pads will no longer be developed and will revert to open space. Some of that space will include a children's play area and new walking paths.
• The cap on the total amount of "gross floor area" allowed at the complex will remain the same at 1,162,000 square feet.

Melvyn Monzack, attorney for the owners, said the changes mean progress for the large shopping center.

"Nothing is intended to disrupt the character and direction forward of the neighboring communities, and we are committed to being good neighbors," he said.

"As plans become more definitive, we will be able to provide additional information," he said.

Contact Angie Basiouny at 324-2796 or abasiouny@delawareonline.com.

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  Wilmington University will repair historic Red Barn on Concord Pike
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