Grocery store & theater planned for 108-acre site


By Lynn R. Parks


'Coming soon, to a theater near you..."
Words that, for Seaford-area residents at the start of the 21st century, should instead read, "Coming soon, to a theater about 30 miles away from you." But no longer, at least if Tommy Cooper has his way.
Cooper, owner of Cooper Realty, Seaford, is negotiating with a chain of movie theaters to bring an eight-screen complex to the area. It, as well as a grocery superstore and at least two national restaurants, would be part of The Hub, a shopping center planned for US 13 north of the Sussex Plaza, where Wal-Mart is located.
"We have had this property for sale for some time and have done extensive advertising in many areas," said Cooper. "Seaford is developing and it is definitely a growth area. Out-of-state developers were very interested in this area."

The site is 108 acres, all tilled. While Cooper would give neither the current owner's name nor the name of the developer, he said that the developer is located in Baltimore and has the resources and experience required to complete a project such as this one. It has completed projects elsewhere on the Delmarva Peninsula, but this would be its first in Delaware. "It definitely has a long track record," he said.
In addition to the theater, grocery store and restaurants, the complex would include a 30,000 square foot strip that would accommodate small retail stores and service companies. It would also have four "pads," or plots for stand-alone buildings, along the front of the property and nine interior pad sites, ranging from 2 to 9 acres. The restaurants would be located in two of the front four pads.
Cooper said that he is talking with four grocery store chains Acme, Safeway, Super Giant and Super Fresh that are interested in occupying the grocery store, which will be 55,000 square feet. "Demographics show that a significant part of middle- and upper-income shoppers are going to Salisbury, Easton or Dover to do grocery shopping," he said.
The theater chain, with whom Cooper said he is "negotiating as we speak," would occupy a 20,000-square foot building. Behind all of the stores would be built an assisted-living facility, consisting of individual homes and operated by a private company.
The land is being considered for annexation. If annexation is approved, the developer would be responsible for running city water and sewer lines north along US 13 from the Sussex Plaza.
Cooper said that while the sale of the land is definite, all other proposals are still under negotiation. "This may all come to fruition, some of it may or none of it may," he said. If everything works out, however, he expects that groundbreaking could take place in September and the grocery store and theater could be completed within six months of that.