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5/18/2010
DuPont Company Consolidation of Chestnut Run & Barley Mill Plaza Sites Commences - News Journal

BY JONATHAN STARKEY • THE NEWS JOURNAL • MAY 18, 2010

The construction motorists shuttle past each morning and evening at DuPont's  Chestnut Run Plaza along Del. 141 is not a sign of coming growth at one of the state's largest employers.

The company is building an everyday, run-of-the-mill parking lot -- but a parking lot with a purpose.

Construction of the parking lot is the first visible sign of a major consolidation of DuPont's suburban offices at Chestnut Run and Barley Mill plazas that has been planned for years but held up by economic conditions.

The lot is being built to replace parking spaces DuPont will lose when construction of a 222,000-square-foot office building gets under way next month. A groundbreaking ceremony is scheduled for June 10.

DuPont sold the 100-acre Barley Mill Plaza campus in the fall of 2007 to Stoltz Real Estate Fund II, a group of local real estate investors. The sale price of the 24-building campus at Del. 141 and Lancaster Pike in Greenville was not disclosed at the time, but was rumored to top $90 million.

About 2,000 DuPont employees who work at Barley Mill will move next door to Chestnut Run, and the new building will house  offices for 725 of them. Construction should be complete by December of 2011, DuPont spokesman Rick Straitman said, and the workers will be moved in three months later, by March of 2012.

Plans for a second building have yet to be finalized, Straitman said, and the company will continue to lease back space at Barley Mill.

The move was originally scheduled to take five years, but has been delayed a year by the financial downturn, Straitman said.

Meanwhile, Stoltz's proposal to build 2.9 million square feet of retail, office and residential  space at Barley Mill has been criticized by neighbors and other area residents, who worry the project will worsen traffic congestion in an already-busy part of New Castle County.

Stoltz and residents groups ended discussions about possibly shrinking the project in December, after Stoltz filed an unchanged plan with New Castle County, seeking final approval before the company can filing for construction permits.

Contact Jonathan Starkey at 324-2855 or jstarkey@delawareonline.com.

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