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Panoramic View of a Landscape with Houses, Trees and Other Buildings

Chrysler Site Sustainable Development:

Last updated: Sep. 27, 2010

The Newark Chrysler Site was recently purchased by the University of Delaware, which plans to demolish the old Chrysler factory and redevelop the site. This site is at the heart of the City of Newark, and its development will be greatly beneficial for both the university and the city. The way in which this site is redeveloped has the potential to impact the city of Newark for years to come; it is of critical importance that the University adopts a course most beneficial to the long-term prosperity of the community as a whole.

Storefronts and Mixed-Use Space:

UD is already proposing to create mixed-use housing and commercial space near the train station, inspired by the idea of transit-oriented development. This initiative proposes building Main street-like storefronts along South College avenue for the whole length of the site along South College, and redesigning South College to be pedestrian friendly. The space could be mixed-use, with offices or apartments upstairs from the storefronts. If the university needs this space for research or health sciences facilities, these facilities could be located on the upper stories of mixed-use buildings.

Why? The Chrysler site is very large: 272 acres, which is almost 5% of the total land area of the city of Newark. The site lies at the very heart of the city geographically. It is near the SEPTA and AMTRAK stations, and would be a prime example of transit-oriented development. It is near apartment complexes both north of the tracks, and south of the site. Creation of a walkable commercial area along south college avenue would be a great asset to the people living, working, and going to school nearby, including at the UD Agriculture School and athletic facilities. This part of town currently has no access to a pedestrian-friendly commercial area.

This plan would also provide considerable value to the university, as high-density commercial or mixed-use space could be constructed in a small portion of the space, and could be much more lucrative per-acre than more low-density development of a research park. Furthermore, the presence of such commerce (especially if it were located within the same building as UD's facilities) could make the research facilities in the site more attractive to prospective tenants.

Sustainable Park Space / Natural Areas:

The University is already planning to bring to the surface a stream that currently runs underneath the old Chrysler site. This initiative proposes for the University to consider the creation of as much natural habitat as possible, including wetlands, and park space, in their redevelopment of the site, which they already seem to be doing. The initiative proposes for the University to landscape the space in the site as sustainably as possible, using native plants grown from local seed stock. The University has recently moved towards using more native landscaping; we want to encourage the University to go as far as possible towards sustainable landscaping.

This site is adjacent to several parks and natural areas. North of the tracks, the site borders Phillips park, with mature deciduous forest and wetlands; northwest of the westernmost part of the site is Devon park, and south of the site, across Route 4, are wetlands and a forested area along the Christina creek and in Rittenhouse park.

Pedestrian and Bicycle Thoroughfares:

It is always easiest to accomodate bicycles and pedestrians before an area is being redesigned or redeveloped. If accomodations are added after the fact, they are more costly and often not as effective. This initiative encourages UD, the City of Newark, and any other parties involved, to make the development as friendly to pedestrians and bicycles as possible, from the start. This includes creating safe bicycle lanes and a more pleasant walking environment along south college, as well as creating safe paths around and through the property, for both bicycles and pedestrians.