A new apartment and office complex is coming to the corner of Elkton Road and Casho Mill Road.
City council greenlit the project Monday night.
Developer Lou Ramunno – whose company Liborio LLC also owns the Shoppes of Louviers and other development projects around the state – is planning to demolish the existing single-story medical office complex at 1501 Casho Mill Road and replace it with a three-story structure containing office space and 48 apartments.
The first floor will have 19,000 square feet of office space and two apartments, while the upper floors will each have 23 apartments. The project will include 22 two-bedroom units, six one-bedroom apartments and 20 studio units.
Ramunno said he expects the smaller unit sizes to attract graduate students and recent college graduates.
While taller, the new building will have a slightly smaller footprint than the existing one, which was built in 1988. Ramunno plans to donate 1.75 acres at the western side of the site, bordering the Christina River, to the city.
“Getting that dedication of land along the river, I think it’s a good thing for the city, for sure,” City Manager Tom Coleman said. “It will allow us to do better maintenance of the stream if we get blockages.”
The project exceeds the required parking, and Ramunno plans to add turn lanes into the site from Casho Mill Road.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency recently released new floodplain maps that show the Casho Mill Road site in the 100-year flood zone, so the site will be graded to raise it 18 inches to get it out of the floodway.
In a 5-0 vote, city council approved Ramunno’s request for a comprehensive development plan amendment, a major subdivision and a special-use permit for grading in a floodplain.
Mayor Jerry Clifton praised Ramunno for including smaller apartment units.
“I think it’s commendable. People always are mentioning smaller units, and now we have a complex that the largest unit will be a two-bedroom unit, which is almost unheard of,” Clifton said. “It reduces to one-bedroom and studio, which I hope equates to a little bit more affordable.”
In other action Monday night:
• Council granted a special-use permit to Jenni Petrucci to open an in-home daycare at 901 Kenilworth Avenue in Cherry Hill. A teacher in the Colonial School District, Petrucci said running the daycare will allow her to stay home to take care of her daughter while continuing to teach other kids and provide a needed service in the community. The permit allows a maximum of nine children at the daycare.
• Council appointed the first four members of the new diversity and inclusion commission: Elder Blaine Hackett, pastor of St. John AM Church and vice-president of the Newark NAACP; Patrick McCloskey Jr., an openly gay police officer at the University of Delaware; Sasha Aber, a Jewish woman and owner of Home Grown Café; and Annalisa Ekbladh, a disability advocate who serves as director of policy and family services for Autism Delaware.
• With the Newark Police Department facing several impending vacancies, council agreed to Chief Paul Tiernan’s request to streamline the hiring process for officers who are already certified in Delaware. Certified officers will no longer have to take a written application test, though a background check, psychological evaluation and other requirements will remain in place.
• Council agreed to let the state handle the administration of Newark’s lodging tax. City officials said it will streamline the process for hotels because they can now pay their city and state lodging taxes at the same time. It will also save city employees eight hours a month and allow the state to audit hotels’ tax filings using data the city does not have access to.