Residences at River Place breaks ground

By Lynn R. Parks

Construction of a new apartment building in downtown Seaford is underway. A groundbreaking for the Residences at River Place at the foot of South North Street was held Tuesday morning, under bright blue skies.

"Look at this view!" said developer David Perlmutter, standing near the edge of the Nanticoke River and addressing about a hundred people who attended the groundbreaking. "Could you ask for a better view? I don't think so. This is a place where people will want to live, relax and enjoy themselves."

Perlmutter is developing the property, along with his sister and brother-in-law, Faith and Warren Diamond. When completed, the Residences at River Place will have two buildings with 72 apartments.

The first residents are expected to move in early next summer.

"We are very excited about this property and about the revitalization of downtown Seaford," Perlmutter said. His group also plans to construct an office building near the Residences as well as storefronts, restaurants and a hotel in Seaford's downtown. "This is an exciting opportunity for Seaford."

Seaford was one of three cities chosen last year in the inaugural round of the state's Downtown Development District program. Development and renovation projects in its downtown can receive a reimbursement from the state of up to 20 percent of the project cost.

The Residences was the only large (costing more than $250,000) Seaford project to be approved for reimbursement. Perlmutter will receive a state reimbursement of $671,000 at the conclusion of construction.

Gov. Jack Markell, who attended the groundbreaking, said that the downtown development reimbursement plan is working as it was intended. In its first year, 2015, the General Assembly allocated $5.6 million for it. That has resulted in $114 million in private investment, Markell said.

"We are trying to get a good return on taxpayers' dollars," he added. "With a relatively small amount of taxpayer money, we are attracting a lot of other investment."

The General Assembly allocated $8 million in this year's round of Downtown Development District funding. Applications for reimbursement are being accepted through the end of the year.

Developer Warren Diamond told the crowd that he was inspired to construct the apartment buildings by the proximity of the Nanticoke River. "I was struck by the awesome beauty of this river," he said. "Look at it today and you will understand how I felt."

Diamond said that in research about the history of the Seaford area, he learned about the Nanticoke people and their long history in the area. "A lot of people are vested in this land," he said. "We have a lot to live up to, and we intend to do so."

Markell said that having 72 residential units in its downtown will be a big boost for Seaford. "We will be back here next summer, welcoming in the new residents. Working together, we will all make Seaford stronger."

Referring to the loss of the DuPont Co. and the downsizing of the nylon plant on the edge of town, Markell said that Seaford has had "a tough go."

"And it continues to be difficult for the city," he added. "But we believe in Seaford and in the people of Seaford. We believe that it can go a long way and that its future can be brighter than ever."

For your information: Rentals of apartments at the Residences at River Place are being handled by Trina Joyner with Coldwell Banker Resort Realty, Seaford. She can be reached at 629-5575.

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