Friday, February 15, 2019

Some Delmar Delaware Council Comments on 2 N. Pennsylvania Ave

November Mayor and Council meeting
Town Manager’s Report Town Manager Bynum-King asked the Council for some guidance on how to proceed with the property at 2 N. Pennsylvania Avenue (the Mills building across the street from Town Hall). She informed the Council that a few weeks ago, she and Community Development Coordinator Hardin met with a potential developer for the building. The developer said that the building is in very bad shape. Outside on the north side, it is starting to look like the south side looked a few years ago. All the work that was done a few years ago to stabilize the building, is now in a weakened state. He said that the building may not last but another 5-6 years. She asked the Council how they wanted to proceed. She asked if they wanted DB&F to come and re-evaluate the building. She said that she wasn’t sure what or if Mr. Mills was going to do anything towards fixing the structure. The Town Manager said that this is a historic building to the Town, but not part of the National Registry, she would love to see it restored, however the Town cannot let this building stay in the shape that it is in. Council Member Smith asked if there was anyway the Town could divert the tractor trailer traffic from State Street. Town Manager Bynum-King said that even with the diversion of truck traffic, the building still is falling apart. Maryland State Highway would have to approve the re-routing of the tractor trailers. Town Manager Bynum-King said she was not sure if the potential buyer was just playing down the condition of the building to get it at a better price, or if the building is actually as bad as he presented it to be. Council Member Boyan asked about the other potential buyer for the building. The Town Manager said that he was concerned about the amount of EDU’s he would have to pay for. This current potential buyer is concerned about parking. She said again that this building, in the shape it is right now, will not last another 5-6 years with the worsening conditions. Council Member Holmes said that at some point there comes a time that a building has outlived its’ usefulness even if it is historic. Town Manager Bynum-King said that she doesn’t want the Town to be a part of any liability. Mayor Houlihan said that the Town should contact DB&F and have them come and do an assessment of the building structure. Once that is done, then we will know how to move forward. It is in a Community Business District and that type of building will require parking. We will also need to re-evaluate what the overall use of the building should be. Most want to put apartments on the second and third floors and that requires parking. The consensus of the Council was to have DB&F do an evaluation of the building and once we get that we can move forward with any decisions. Town Manager Bynum-King said that she would reach out to Mr. Mills and make him aware of the Council’s decision based on the information given on the condition of the building and that we will be doing an independent assessment. Council Member Boyan said that the independent assessment would be a good thing to have for any future prospective buyers. The building is not registered as historic but has a major history with Delmar. Council Member Holmes said that it might be less expensive to take the building down than to fix it. Town Manager Bynum-King said that once the building is gone then it is gone. Council Member Holmes said that maybe prospective buyers would look at the land differently if the building is gone

December Mayor and Council meeting
Update on 2 N. Pennsylvania Avenue Town Manager Bynum-King reported that on November 27 th, Mr. Andrew Welsh, a DBF Engineer, completed an assessment of the property located at 2 N. Pennsylvania Avenue, Delmar, DE. Mr. Welsh identified 9 issues with the building. Of those 9 items, he identified 4 items as of an immediate nature and 5 items were to be completed as soon as possible. Mr. Welsh also suggested that Mr. Mills; the property owner, should contract with a structural engineer to have the structure evaluated. The structural engineer should also prepare a design for the reinforcement of the building, the most immediate being the east wall. Mr. Welsh also mentioned that the work completed to the south side of the east wall has been exposed and is showing signs of deterioration. On December 3rd, there was a meeting with Mr. Mills, Mr. Randy Taylor, Town Community Development Coordinator William Hardin and herself to discuss the letter prepared by Mr. Welsh. Mr. Mills was informed that the Town could not continue to prolong the restoration of this building. The Town’s primary concern is public safety. Mr. Mills asked if he could have 10 days to get his structural engineer to have the building assessed. The Town agreed, that on or by December 17th, Mr. Mills would have in hand a written report from his structural engineer. If no report is received, the Town Manager would turn the matters over to the Delaware Officials to determine how the Town proceeds with the future of the building.

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