Despite the COVID-19 pandemic stretching well into its sophomore year, development in Delaware showed few signs of slowing down in 2021.
The Prices Corner shopping center completed its redesign, anchored by Delaware’s first new Target in more than 10 years. The Christiana Fashion Center filled part of its first major vacancy since its first phase opened in 2015 with the addition of Trader Joe’s.
And at one of the largest buildings in the country, Amazon began shipping packages from the former General Motors site, continuing its rapid expansion in the First State.
There are plenty more projects of similar scope set to unfold in 2022 or the following years that we’ll highlight in a story in the coming days. For now, here is a look back at the businesses that opened in Delaware this year as reported on by Delaware Online/The News Journal.
Amazon’s mega-warehouse on Boxwood Road
Amazon’s 3.8-million-square-foot fulfillment center is not only one of the largest buildings in Delaware, but one of the largest buildings in the country.
Covering roughly 640,000 square feet of ground space and five stories high, the fulfillment center features all of Amazon’s latest technology, including robots that move products miles every day and sensors that detect when and where a product is stowed.
The facility opened in September. It employs around 1,000 people.
Amazon received $4.5 million from the state to build the fulfillment center, which replaced the manufacturing plant vacated by General Motors in 2009. Also at the site is a smaller Amazon delivery station.
Delaware’s second Trader Joe’s
After almost two decades with just one Delaware location, Trader Joe’s expanded to Christiana in April.
The new store, located in the Christiana Fashion Center, joined the company’s original First State outpost on Concord Pike in Brandywine Hundred. It replaced part of Saks Off 5th, which closed in 2019.
Elsewhere in the fashion center the women’s athletic clothing brand Athleta opened in September between Zoup! and Ulta Beauty.
READ MORE: A look inside Delaware’s second Trader Joe’s
Prices Corner redevelopment centered around new Target
Target’s fourth Delaware location opened in April in the Prices Corner shopping center.
The store replaced Sears, a fixture of Prices Corner for more than 50 years. Target is the centerpiece of a redevelopment of the shopping center, that also includes an updated facade and other new businesses such as Tropical Smoothie, AutoZone and Chick-fil-A.
At 113,000 square feet, it is the smallest of Target’s four Delaware stores.
2 Aldi grocery stores opened at the end of the year
The two stores are part of Aldi’s rapid U.S. expansion. The company opened around 100 stores in 2021 and plans to be the third-largest U.S. grocery by store count by the end of 2022.
2 Chick-fil-As opened in New Castle County
Chick-fil-A added two Delaware locations in 2021: in the Prices Corner shopping center on Kirkwood Highway and on Route 40 near New Castle.
At least one more Delaware location is in the works, potentially taking the place of the Aetna Hose Hook and Ladder facility on Ogletown Road in Newark.
New stores at Christiana Mall
2020 resulted in higher than usual turnover at the Christiana Mall. But, the mall is almost filled again with about a dozen stores having debuted in the final months of 2021 or due to open at the beginning of 2022.
Jeweler Lovisa opened its first Delaware store in the wing of the mall between Macy’s and Target. Lovisa describes itself as “an affordable fashion jeweler.”
Purple, a mattress company, opened a store in the same wing. The company uses a hyper-elastic polymer its founders developed decades ago for use in critical care beds to create “no pressure” mattresses, pillows and seat cushions.
Miniso, a Chinese retailer with some 4,800 locations worldwide specializing in household and consumer goods such as cosmetics, stationery, toys and kitchenware, opened between JC Penney and Target.
Popeyes replaced the Melt Shop in the mall food court, which recently received new seating for the first time since the food court opened as part of the mall’s remodel a decade ago.
A Levi’s store replaced Bose across from the Apple store.
Wilma’s duckpin bowling in downtown Wilmington
Downtown Wilmington’s first bowling alley in 55 years opened in December at the historic Delaware Trust Building on N. Market St.
It’s a twist on a traditional bowling alley, offering just four lanes with smaller sized pins and balls.
The alley features New Orleans-style cuisine and a full bar.
Planet Fitness and Longhorn Steakhouse on Concord Pike
Planet Fitness and Longhorn Steakhouse filled vacant space in the Concord Square shopping center on Concord Pike in Talleyville.
Further north, Buff City Soap opened in August in the strip center at 5600 Concord Pike.
Michaels replaced A.C. Moore on Kirkwood Highway
The arts and crafts retailer Michaels in January replaced A.C. Moore on Kirkwood Highway, which closed in February 2020 as part of a companywide shutdown.
Michaels took control of about 40 A.C. Moore locations. It now has six locations in Delaware, including nearby stores in the Christiana Fashion Center and Brandywine Town Center.
Produce Junction in Stanton
After delays attributed to the pandemic, Produce Junction opened its Stanton store in May.
The store took the place of the Thrift Center in a small strip center along West Newport Pike. The specialty grocer is known for stocking items not typically seen in the area, including dragon fruit, rambutan and cactus leaves.
READ MORE: Produce Junction prepares to open
Newark apartment complexes continue string of new construction
Apartment buildings on Hillside Road and Main Street continued Newark’s expansion of off-campus housing for University of Delaware students.
Among the 2021 additions are the 30-unit building constructed in place of Fulton Bank at Main Street and Tyre Avenue and a series of apartment and townhome buildings that replaced the UD Dickinson dormitories.
The development at the Dickinson site, called the Rail Yard, includes 46 townhomes and 45 apartments.
Park at Newark stormwater facility
The park on Hillside Road at the site of the former University of Delaware Rodney dormitories opened in December more than two years after the dormitories’ demolition.
Hillside Park features a fishing pier, a playground and a paved and lighted walking trail. Also situated at the former dorm site is a city stormwater facility.
Newark residents in 2018 approved through a referendum the city’s plan to borrow up to $27.6 million for the park and stormwater facility and other municipal projects. Newark residents are paying the loan back through an increase in the stormwater utility fee.
Newark Chief Communications Officer Jayme Gravell said weather and supply chain issues delayed the opening of the park. Two pavilions have not yet been installed due to the supply chain issues, Gravell said.
High-tech biopharmaceutical building on UD’s STAR Campus
The expansion of the University of Delaware’s science and research-driven campus on South College Avenue continued with the opening of a six-story building for biopharmaceutical research.
UD celebrated the opening of the building, dubbed the Ammon Pinizotto Biopharmaceutical Innovation Center, in October.
It’s designed to bring together UD students, researchers and industry workers to work on “life-saving medicines and transformational treatments.”
Earlier in the year, ILC Dover moved its headquarters to the Tower at STAR, an adjacent 10-story office and research building.
Party City in Christiana’s Center Pointe Plaza II
Party City joined Center Pointe Plaza II on Churchmans Road near the Christiana Hospital in Stanton.
The store took part of the space last occupied by Eastern Mountain Sports next to Golf Galaxy.
It’s the second Party City in Delaware, joining a store on Route 13 in Dover. A Party City in Elsmere on Kirkwood Highway closed in February 2020 after 26 years in business.
HomeGoods in Middletown
Adjoining Ashley HomeStore behind the Aldi at Middletown Warwick and Bunker Hill roads, HomeGoods opened in Middletown in March.
The discount home furniture store is owned by TJX Companies, which also owns Marshalls, T.J. Maxx and HomeSense. It is the fifth HomeGoods store in Delaware, including two that are combined Marshalls/HomeGoods stores.
Homestead Gardens in Smyrna
Homestead Gardens, a Maryland garden company, took over Ronny’s Garden World in Smyrna, which closed at the end of 2020 after five decades in business.
The garden center, located on Route 13, reopened under Homestead Gardens’ leadership in early April. Ronny’s was known for its “wonderland” display of ornaments and lights around the winter holidays.
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