Staying Local: WSFS Helps Delle Donne & Associates Bring Live-Work-Play to Life in Delaware
running-a-business | Read Time: 3 minutes
By Rebecca Acevedo | Published: May 2023
Avenue North is poised to be an inspirational example of what it means to live, work and play in the modern world. Once complete, the campus — nestled near both I-95 and the Delaware Green Way — will be comprised of 80 multi-use acres, including housing, office space, retail and other amenities. In addition, the development will provide instant and easy access to some of the top employers in Delaware, such as Christiana Care and Astra Zeneca, both of whose headquarters are located at Avenue North. From start to finish, local developers Delle Donne & Associates (DDA) have worked hard to ensure the project prioritizes Delaware’s businesses and people. And through it all, they’ve partnered with WSFS Bank to make it happen.
Delle Donne & Associates is one of the largest developers in Delaware, and a fixture of the region’s construction industry. Founded 70 years ago, the private company prioritizes hiring local and building local, enabling them to give back to the state through the infrastructure projects they’ve completed through the years.
DDA’s relationship with WSFS began more than 40 years ago, when it partnered with the bank to fund a development site in downtown Wilmington. Since then, WSFS has provided the kind of latitude needed to fulfill DDA’s mission of building, hiring and banking local.
“A bank like WSFS really understands what’s happening in our state, and even in our county,” said Ernie Delle Donne, Chairman of DDA. “Larger banks are beholden to a global scale, but that doesn’t necessarily equate to what is happening in our state or even our county.”
True to form, the entire project is financed by local banks, with large portions financed by WSFS, including the initial site loan, office tower, and retail building, with forthcoming projects under consideration.
To make Avenue North a reality, DDA took inspiration from one of Delaware’s founding families, the du Ponts — specifically, their French heritage. Many features are inspired by French architecture, from the office tower (reminiscent of the Eiffel Tower), to the pedestrian-friendly nature of Paris echoed in the layout and construction of the site itself. The entire project is designed as a campus that caters to walkability and ease of access, featuring apartments, retail, and office space. The components work together in unison to provide residents with everything they need day-to-day, as well as proximity to I-95 and the airport.
“Were it not for WSFS’ knowledge of the nuances of the area, I could never even think of making this site even close to what we want it to be,” noted Delle Donne. “Their belief that we needed to live up to the site, to the residents, the retailers — it couldn’t just ‘be,’ it had to be something special.”
The majority of construction for Avenue North is slated for 2024, with offices anticipated to open in March. Avenue North not only offers tremendous opportunity to bolster the local economy but will further develop Delaware into a leading destination for attracting top talent when factoring in the jobs available at leading companies, low cost of living, and desirable amenities.
“Our biggest challenge will be not under developing it,” said Delle Donne.
About the Author – Rebecca Acevedo
Rebecca Acevedo is Senior Vice President, Director of Corporate Communications at WSFS Bank, where she leads corporate communications, including public relations and social media. She holds a bachelor’s degree from LaSalle University and a master’s in corporate communication from Rowan University.
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