Update! On August 9, Governor Jack Markell announced that Laurel’s business district and waterfront would become a Downtown Development District.

What does that mean? It means it will be much more attractive to establish a new small business in Laurel’s downtown and waterfront area, upgrade an existing business, fix up a historic home, or build new ones. The 71-acre Downtown Development District includes the proposed Ramble waterfront development, the commercial businesses in and around Market Street, and historic homes south to 6th Street. The western boundary is the railroad tracks, and the eastern boundary is Pine Street.

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ddd_logoDowntown Development Districts are an initiative of Gov. Jack Markell to attract investment and redevelopment to Delaware’s towns. A successful application is based on three factors – need and impact (50 percent); the actual plan for the designated district (30 percent); and the incentives the local government is willing to offer (20 percent). In turn, the state will offer a 20 percent rebate on qualified investments by a developer, nonprofit, homeowner or business.

After an initial application round in 2014, Wilmington, Seaford and Dover were chosen as the state’s first three districts. Laurel has been working on its DDD plans for more than a year, waiting for another application round to open up. In March, Gov. Markell announced that the deadline for a new round of applications would be June 1, 2016.

Laurel has the lowest Median Household Income – $33,387 – in the state, but it also has accomplished much along its Broad Creek waterfront, as the application details. The town is in a great position to continue its rebirth. Laurel’s application focuses not just on commercial revitalization but on a comprehensive approach to rehabilitating the district’s aging homes and rental properties.

View the plan for Laurel’s district

This is the proposed plan for Laurel’s Downtown Development District. Some of the embedded links may not work in this format, but they are available at right. 

Incentives for investment

A package of state and local incentives make it more attractive and less risky to invest in Laurel’s Downtown Development District, which includes the beautiful Broad Creek waterfront. The incentives include:

  • State grants of up to 20 percent to offset Qualified Real Property Investments.  For a $1 million project, after a $25,000 “downpayment,” that would be a $195,000 grant;
  • A discount of at least 25 percent off the market value of land owned by the Laurel Redevelopment Corporation;
  • A five-year abatement of town property taxes on any improvements made within the Downtown Development District;
  • A waiver of sewer and water impact fees, totaling $7,000 per equivalent dwelling unit;
  • Priority access to the state Historic Tax Credit (the area is within Laurel’s Historic District):
  • Access to community lending resources;
  • Planned amenities, such as a nature-based playground and walking trails, along the Broad Creek waterfront;
  • Access to home rehabilitation and home ownership resources, regardless of income

Interested? Please call the Laurel Redevelopment Corporation at 875-0601. Or email us at reimaginelaurel@gmail.com.

View Laurel’s DDD application package

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These reports are linked to from Laurel’s Downtown Development District application.

View the Downtown Development District story map

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