September 13, 2002

One of the few remaining large tracts of available land in the area is slated to be turned into a $50 million community if plans presented to the Council of Civic Organizations of Brandywine Hundred materialize.

Developer Robert Ruggio, principal in the 202 Group, told a council meeting on Sept. 12 that had competed purchase of the property from the estate of the late John Rollins that afternoon. He did not disclose the purchase price.

The 107 acre parcel lies along Naamans just east of the Brandywine Town Center and west of the Concord High School campus. Lawyer William Rhodunda said the intention is to put up 100 to 105 single-family houses that are expected to sell for $500,000.

The land, which along with the Town Center formerly comprised Brandywine Raceway, a Rollins

enterprise,  is correctly zoned to permit that.

Unlike the development of the Town Center, Rhodunda said this project, now in "a very preliminary stage," will proceed in full collaboration with the council and neighboring communities. The council fought a long and bitter, albeit losing, battle with Rollins interests in an effort to block the Town Center project.

The Ruggio-Rhodunda presentation sparked a few questions, but no indication of opposition.

"We will put a quality development in your area which you can be proud of," Ruggio promised.

He said that Astra Zeneca, which is expanding

This stormwater retention pond is being considered as a recreational amenity for the planned new development next to Brandywine Town Center.

its corporate headquarters complex opposite Fairfax, is "desperate for housing in that [price] range in Brandywine Hundred" to provide for upper-level personnel being transferred from Pennsylvania to the Delaware complex now under construction

Neither presenter offered a prospective timetable for the project.

The development does not yet have a name.

Ruggio said a feature will be the transformation of an existing stormwater retention pond situated between the State Police substation and the child-care center on the Town Center property into "an active- and passive-recreation" area for the new community. He spoke of walking paths and bird watching as activities and the possible construction of an ornamental fountain in the pond.

The pond is large enough to continue to serve the commercial complex as well as the new community, he said. It is presently surrounded by a fence but poorly maintained, he said.

There is also another area of the property which consists of wetland and which also will be retained as open space.

Unlike most parcels, this one comes to his organization with dedicated open space amounting to about half the land area.

Ruggio said one of 10 potential builders now being consulted about doing the job has proposed that it be a gated community. That, he said, would permit preventing traffic leaving the Town Center from going through the development while providing access to the stores and the center's Concord Pike and Naamans Road exits via its internal loop road. The community also would have an entrance and exit onto Naamans near Grubb Road.

Rhodunda said one of the competitors for the parcel was Cephalon, a West Chester, Pa.-based drug company, which the Delaware Economic Development Office is attempting to woo to Delaware. The 202 Group had, as previously reported by Delaforum, a letter-of-intent to acquire the property which trumped a bid on behalf of Cephalon, he said.

Sources say that the state is still trying to get the drug company to move to the area with a Rollins property north of the Town Center along Concord Pike and a Woodlawn Trustees property at the southwest corner of the Concord Pike-Naamans Road intersection as potential sites.

2002. All rights reserved.

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