By Tony E. Windsor

Laurel is forecasting some good news on the development front in the wake of the unsettling economic environment that has gripped the nation over the past two years due to the COVID pandemic.

During a recent Laurel Mayor and Council meeting, Town Manager Jamie Smith gave an update on local economic development, including a 410 unit residential complex planned for Discount Land Road on the east side of U.S. 13.

Wilmington developer Liborio Watergate, LLC is proposing to build multi and single-family homes, townhouses and condominiums on a 78-acre parcel east of U.S.13, along Discount Land Road. The project plans have gained the approval of Laurel’s Planning and Zoning Committee and the developer is working to secure all necessary state permits.The project calls for the construction of 63 single-family homes, 179 townhomes and 168 condominiums all sold at market value. 

Smith said the area of Discount Land Road planned for the development has no posted speed limit, and DelDOT is recommending a speed limit posted at 50 miles per hour. She said this causes concern for the town. “Most roadways in that area, including Georgetown Highway have posted speed limits of 35 miles per hour,” she said. “With a residential development coming and more traffic along Discount Land Road, we have concern about public safety. We are recommending the speed limit be considered at 35 miles per hour.”

Smith said a second development is proposed for 18 acres of land situated behind the Exxon convenience store on U.S. 13. The project calls for 180 apartment units. The developer also has similar developments, one located in Seaford behind the Wawa store along Tharp Road and another residential complex in Lewes.

Smith said in addition to the apartments, there are plans to incorporate commercial pad sites in front of the complex, which will necessitate approval from the Laurel Mayor and Council. “The apartments being proposed for this project are very nice and the complex includes a swimming pool and clubhouse,” Smith said. She said the management of the apartment complex would do all necessary maintenance of utilities, so the town will not have that responsibility.

Smith said a project to construct storage units on the Laurel Junction complex at U.S. 13 and Delaware 9 has received all necessary state and town permits. The project, developed by Delaware Self Storage, is planned for 10 acres of the Laurel Junction property. Delaware Self Storage has locations in Pennsylvania and throughout Delaware including Seaford, Dover, Rehoboth Beach, Milford, Smyrna-Clayton, Millsboro and a new project in Georgetown.