DuPont to promote portion of Wilmington HQ campus

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DuPont has announced that it intends to sell part of its flagship Chestnut Run facility to Delle Donne & Associates. | DBT PHOTO BY JACOB OWENS

WILMINGTON – The name DuPont has long been synonymous with Delaware, but the famed chemical manufacturing company has been on a rollercoaster ride of mergers, sales and spinoffs in recent years, and it is now preparing for another major change.

The company has signed a letter of intent to sell the Chestnut Run Labs buildings and land to Delle Donne & Associates, a large Wilmington-based real estate development firm, according to an announcement sent to Wilmington-area employees by Chief Operations and Engineering Officer Daryl Roberts on Jan. 16.

The sale, which is currently in a due diligence period, is expected to close by the third quarter of 2020, Roberts said.

DuPont won’t be leaving the facility that has served as its headquarters off Del. 141 since 2015, retaining ownership of what is known as the Chestnut Run offices– a collection of six buildings on the north side of the property – as well as the pavilion and parking garage. It will also lease space in two buildings from Delle Donne, officials reported.

When asked about the potential for layoffs connected to the announced sale, the company said that “it remains business as usual at the Chestnut Run site” pending the sale’s completion.  

“DuPont and Delle Donne & Associates will work together to assess future operations and maintenance roles. DuPont and Delle Donne & Associates are committed to a respectful process as we manage any needed changes while following all local and legal requirements, and we will adhere to our Core Values to guide us throughout this process,” the company wrote in an email response.

In his letter, Roberts characterized the pending sale as “a significant step in transforming our footprint in the Wilmington community,” but also added that “Wilmington and surrounding New Castle County is and will continue to be home to DuPont.”

Delle Donne and DuPont will work as “strategic partners” in the redevelopment of the lab space and property, aiming for an “extremely attractive area that will include [research and development] labs and offices, retail, residential and public common space,” Roberts said.

The decision to sell part of its flagship campus comes after DuPont conducted a review of facilities worldwide, Roberts said. That review found that the company had unused lab and office space in Wilmington after years of job cuts and spinoffs, and it resolved to consolidate to “a few essential buildings” at Chestnut Run.

DuPont is committed to investing in its smaller Wilmington operation, as evidenced by its capital investments in the Experimental Station, colocation of business commercial and technology teams at the site, and the planned modernization of Building 702, Roberts added.

It remains to be seen what the sale price on the property would be. Its 218 acres was assessed at more than $80 million as of 2019, according to county tax records.

In 2017, DuPont sold a 100,000-square-foot former office building and its roughly 6 acres on the northern edge of its Chestnut Run campus to an investor for $8.6 million, county records show. Today, Bayada Home Health Care is a tenant in that building at 4250 Lancaster Pike. 

By Jacob Owens

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