The State of Delaware is committed to making its commercial business districts and surrounding neighborhoods vital centers of community and commerce. Central to this goal was the creation of the Downtown Development Districts program.
Enacted in 2014 by the Delaware General Assembly, the program provides Downtown Development District (DDD) Grants to investors (both non-profit and for-profit) who make qualified real estate improvements in a designated District area. Investors within designated DDD will receive a state grant to offset 20 percent of “hard” construction costs, such as exterior, interior, and structural improvements. Designated DDDs will also be given priority consideration for Delaware’s Historic Preservation Tax Credit. The purpose of this program is to encourage private investment in the state’s downtowns; stimulating local economies and improving quality of life for Delawareans.
Investing in the infrastructure of downtowns boosts economic growth immediately, and also serves as a catalyst for future economic expansion. Construction and renovation projects provide jobs for trade workers as well as opportunities for private developers. New or improved commercial buildings give small businesses the space they need to thrive. Projects that include residential or mixed-use development increase the community’s quantity of quality housing. Downtown residential development also gives community members the choice to live walkable distances from shops and restaurants, an increasingly sought after feature. These rewards from capital investment result in dynamic centers of community, where visitors are eager to spend time and citizens are proud to call home.
To qualify to become a Downtown Development District, a local government must demonstrate need for the District designation, prepare and submit a District Plan, and offer local incentives for downtown investment. The application form, companion booklet, and other resources can be found here.