DCAD brings new residents to downtown Wilmington
October 8th 2012
This fall the Delaware College of Art and Design kicked off its 16th year with more than 150 students moving to downtown Wilmington and the announcement of another soon to move in.
The College added a brand new residence hall at 707 N. King St. which it opened in time for fall move-in and a week later opened a new dining hall with a new meal plan, neither of which the College has had previously.
Sept. 20, DCAD President Stuart Baron announced one more new resident will move in later this year. Jerry’s Artarama, a family-owned and operated art supply company out of Raleigh, N.C., will move into retail space on the first floor of the new building. Jerry’s Artarama will be located at 706 N. Market Street.
“This is going to be terrific for a lot of people,” said DCAD President Stuart Baron. “It will be great not only for our students, but for Wilmington. The better the city does, the better we do. The better we do, the better the city does.”
Currently, renovations to the retail space are being made in preparation for Jerry’s, which opened in 1968 and now operates 16 retail stores in 10 different states in addition to hosting workshops, demonstrations and events for artists at their various locations..
“Jerry’s is proud and honored to be chosen as the official supplier for the DCAD students,” said Mike Gundry, Jerry’s President of Retail. “As we have done in other towns and cities, Jerry’s hopes to become an integral member of the art community in and around the Wilmington area.”
DCAD is the only downtown Wilmington campus that has student residents. President Baron said he hopes the addition of the retail store combined with the bustling student population will make downtown much more active and bring more businesses to the growing area.
“This is going to be the first destination store in a longtime for downtown Wilmington,” he said. To note, the Market Street side of the property was home to the landmark Braunstein’s Department Store, which was well-known for debuting DuPont’s nylons for women in 1940. The building is most recently known as the Brandywine Suites Hotel, part of the Clarion Hotels group.
As a member of the Main Street Wilmington Board of Directors, President Baron was involved with discussions on Wilmington’s Business Improvement District and developing a plan. He inquired about bringing an art supply store to Wilmington. He said when he and his wife, also a painter, moved to Wilmington a little over three years ago, they were surprised that the area did not have any local options for buying art supplies, and traveling to Center City in Philadelphia was time consuming.
“We have been buying art supplies online for nearly 10 years, but nothing can replace the tactile satisfaction of going into an art supply store and seeing and trying new or different materials or brands,” he said. “I knew that if I could do something for local and regional artists, I would do it.”
President Baron said this is a truly momentous accomplishment for DCAD.
“The business element, critical to Wilmington’s resurgence, and the jobs that have been created in the dormitory and at Jerry’s Artarama will provide an added lift to the local economy,” he said. “Part of the College’s stated mission is to be ‘a catalyst in the revitalization of downtown Wilmington’, and this project certainly addresses that goal.”
DCAD Boards Chairman R. Thorpe Moeckel said Jerry’s exemplifies the College’s commitment to downtown.
“DCAD’s mission propels us to provide a really fantastic art and design education while also focusing on urban revitalization in downtown,” he said. “This project, where we expanded our student housing by renovating an existing building and will now have the addition of Jerry's, I think, really allows the community to see our commitment and also offer the opportunity for everyone to learn more about DCAD and its work.”
In November 2011, DCAD purchased the building at 707 N. King St. at Sheriff’s Sale. The Buccini/Pollin Group began renovations in January and funding for the $4.7 million project was acquired through ING Direct and M&T Bank, as well as from DCAD’s own resources. The City of Wilmington provided a $500,000 loan from the City’s Capital Budget
The new residence hall features 46 rooms that will accommodate 94 students. Rooms are studio-style with designated study space and bedrooms, private bathrooms and a separate sink and counter space. The first floor features new office and meeting spaces, and a laundry facility which will be free to residents. Lounge areas are located throughout the building, set for studying, club meetings and social functions.
The dining services offered in the new dining hall are managed by CulinArt, Inc., which specializes in customized dining services in the education sector, among others. Each day, DCAD students have a vast selection of meal options and CulinArt strives to include local ingredients in its menus.