12:01 p.m., Nov. 23, 2009----After nearly 20 months of discussions and negotiations, the University of Delaware officially acquired the 272-acre site formerly occupied by the Chrysler Assembly Plant in Newark, UD President Patrick Harker announced today.
The first call Harker made once the title for the property was transferred to the University was to Delaware Gov. Jack Markell. “Throughout this entire transaction the governor and his staff have been extremely engaged,” Harker said. “The cooperation, interest and support of the Governor as well as Delaware's congressional delegation was instrumental in making this day a reality.”
"The state was a proud partner in the University's effort to assume ownership of the former Chrysler plant. One of the keys to our state's long-term economic recovery must be our ability to come together and respond quickly to economic development opportunities like this and Fisker Automotive at the former GM plant," Markell said. "The road to economic recovery may not be a short one, but we are moving forward together on it. This transfer makes it possible for the University to put people to work on a site that could eventually expand Delaware's reputation as a center for innovation and excellence."
The site presents a variety of unique advantages and opportunities including its physical location within the mid-Atlantic region, access to transportation systems --both rail and road -- and its proximity to University programs, technical support and intellectual resources. The University's preliminary analysis suggests likely candidates for early inclusion on this campus are UD's emerging research partnerships with the Army, the Delaware Health Sciences Alliance, and several University research centers and institutes.
"This is an historic day for the University of Delaware. We foresee great economic development and community infrastructure initiatives on this site that will have a tremendous positive impact on the city of Newark, the state and the region. Some day classrooms, laboratories and research facilities will occupy this site and serve as catalysts for economic development and incubators for discovery," Harker said. “As a land-grant, sea-grant and space-grant university, UD has the institutional and intellectual resources to focus on scientific, technology and advanced research strategic partnerships -- including interdisciplinary engineering, alternative energy, the environment, health sciences and translational medicine. Our OEIP (Office of Economic Innovation and Partnerships), formed last year, has had success assisting UD researchers in creating small start-up companies that has led to entrepreneurial research collaborations and job creation.”
Concept development plans for the property are focused on creating a research and technology campus. The University plans to take advantage of existing site logistics and integrate a campus-wide transportation master plan in the development of this property. Additional priorities include the organization and incremental advancement of the property along zones of activity that consider access to the site, open spaces and future building density. “In addition, we are beginning the process of evaluating existing facilities on the site in order to ascertain opportunities to reuse or recycle structures,” Harker said. “Our goal over time is to construct high performance facilities that support the University's Climate Action Plan and restore portions of the land and natural features, such as ideally revealing Silver Brook Stream.”
The decommissioning process was commenced before closing and will be completed shortly. Salvage and demolition operations will start sometime in the spring 2010. Companies or individuals interested in site work should visit the University's home page, where there is a button bottom right on Chrysler Site Work.