Friday, February 22, 2019

Christiana Care Health System, Chemical Firm Solenis Commit Major Office Moves to Former AstraZeneca Campus in North Wilmington

Two major Delaware employers have signed long-term leases to move their respective headquarters to Avenue North, the redevelopment of the former AstraZeneca corporate campus in suburban Wilmington.

The two companies, Christiana Care Health System, Delaware's largest hospital operator, and specialty chemical producer Solenis Inc., which recently completed a merger with BASF to combine their paper and water chemicals businesses, agreed to lease two large blocks of office space in the $350 million redevelopment located along U.S. 202 .

Delaware-based Delle Donne & Associates purchased the 80-acre property in 2017 from drugmaker AstraZeneca and is in the process of redeveloping it into a high-end, mixed-use complex. The developer plans to add more than 300 residences, approximately 200,000 square feet of retail space and a 200-room hotel-conference center in addition to new and existing office space.

AstraZeneca agreed to leaseback approximately 400,000 square feet encompassing two buildings for its U.S. headquarters when it sold the property.

Christiana Care will lease the entire 386,460-square-foot Center Building, while Solenis will occupy the Pavilion Building , which measures 104,488 square feet. These two leases fill the largest remaining blocks of existing office space in northern New Castle County, according to JLL Senior Vice President Jamie Vari, who helped procure the two tenants on behalf of Delle Donne.

Vari said the early leasing success of the Avenue North project bringing thousands of jobs to the site reflects the scale and expected quality of the proposed mixed-use project.

"Within 18 months of acquiring the site, Delle Donne & Associates, Inc. and their extended team executed on a marketing approach which secured three major Delaware users," Vari said in a press release announcing the two latest lease commitments. "The goal of the plan is to create the new benchmark of high-end development along the Route 202 corridor."

For Solenis, which had considered relocating out of state, the new lease confirms the headquarters of the $3 billion specialty chemical company employing over 5,200 people worldwide will remain in Delaware. CBRE assisted the chemical firm in its site selection.

The company expects to relocate to its new location in the first quarter of 2020. Last November, Delaware approved a $3.9-million taxpayer-funded grant as an incentive for the company to keep its headquarters in the state.

Christiana Care said it plans to relocate much of its administrative and support services to the Avenue North location, freeing up more space at its hospitals in Wilmington and Stanton.

"Avenue North creates an opportunity for Christiana Care to consolidate many of these offices together, reducing costs and increasing efficiency," said Sharon Kurfuerst, the chief operating officer of the health system in a statement.

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