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Old Posted Apr 19, 2005, 9:58 PM
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mglan80 mglan80 is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Wilmington, DE
Posts: 621
Question answered (sorry, no rendering to be found):

Buildings Giving Way to New Garage

10 Demolitions on Shipley and Orange Streets Will Clear Space For 370-Car Parking Structure

By MAUREEN MILFORD / The News Journal

The entire Urban family of Wilmington went on high alert April 8, when demolition work began on a row of buildings on Shipley Street in downtown Wilmington.

Joseph W. and Diane L. Urban and their three children, Ryann, 14, Joseph II, 12, and Joshua, 9, didn't want to miss the day the excavator would chomp into their old building at 907 Shipley St. For nine years, the Urbans ran their Talkin' Turkey Cafe on the ground floor of the building, before they moved in September 2003 to their new location on the corner of Ninth and Shipley streets.

"Our kids had their birthday parties there. They would rollerblade down the hallway in the summer. We have a lot of good sentiments about the place," Diane Urban said.

"We put in 60 hours a week there for nine years," Joseph Urban added. "It was an extension of our home."

Now, the Urbans have two bricks from their old location - one is in the restaurant and one is at home.

The demolition of 10 vacant and deteriorating buildings in the city's central business district is the first step in a plan to create an approximately $9 million parking garage on the site. Montchanin Development Group Ltd. of Wilmington is tearing down five buildings on the west side of the 900 block of Shipley Street. It then will demolish five buildings on the east side of the 900 block of Orange Street.

The properties are owned by John Hynansky, chief executive of the 14-dealership Winner Automotive Group. Alan Perry, president of Montchanin Development, said the demolition work could take another two weeks. Construction on the six-story, 370-car garage is expected to begin in the fall, he said.

Besides the building formerly used by the Urbans, the building that housed the Shipley Grill has been torn down. Sean Reilly, who owned the Shipley Grill from 1989 to 2001, said he grabbed a section of brickwork, to which he attached the keys to his old restaurant. Over the past several months Reilly was permitted to go into the vacant restaurant and remove anything he wanted to save.

He rescued bar items, salt and pepper shakers and several tables, including the restaurant's only round table. Known as Table 37, it was the seat of the stars. Hollywood actors like Kathleen Turner, Hal Holbrook, Robin Williams and Mitzi Gaynor sat at Table 37 after performances at the DuPont Theatre and the Grand Opera House. Reilly also salvaged a vase that held flowers given to him by Gaynor.

For Reilly, the demolition of his old restaurant building was psychologically freeing.

"The building was so dilapidated, it was like reviewing the corpse over and over," he said.

Other structures headed for the brick pile include the Copper Kettle Restaurant, McNelis Hallmark shop and Mrs. Snyder's Chocolate Chippery on Orange Street.

The work has created a lot of sidewalk interest in a part of downtown that in recent years had become a depressing promenade on both Shipley and Orange streets.

"It's a shame to see old buildings go, but anything is better than what was there," said Paul Simonds, co-owner of Mutt's Hot Dogs, at 901 Orange St.

Eric L. McDaniels, chief executive of E.M. Enterprises and manager of the newly-renovated office tower at Ninth and Orange streets, said the demolition has created more interest in his building.

"It's creating a buzz in the neighborhood," McDaniels said. "It's definitely good to see some construction and investment in this part of town."


Hopefully it'll look nice.

Last edited by mglan80; May 30, 2005 at 9:19 PM.
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