Downtown Development Grant Process Open


The Delaware State Housing Authority (DSHA) has announced that the Spring 2018 Downtown Development Districts (DDD) Rebate Program is now open and accepting applications. Currently, there are eight designated Districts including Dover, Georgetown, Harrington, Laurel, Milford, Seaford, Smyrna and Wilmington.

The DDD program was created in 2015 in an effort to spur private investment in commercial business districts, stimulate job growth, improve the commercial vitality of our cities and help build stable communities in our downtowns.  To date, approximately $5.9 million in rebate funding is available for DDD Large Project Investors and another $2 million for DDD Small Project Investors. 

Becoming a DDD in 2016, the City of Milford is part of the State program that offers private investors up to 20% State grants for rehabilitation
and construction costs of properties within the district. Milford City Planner Rob Pierce explained that, as part of the application for the designation, City Council offered additional local incentives in order to encourage businesses to locate within the district. “Sewer, water and other impact fees will be waived as are permit fees,” Mr. Pierce said. “Basically, the city gave up some revenue to encourage new businesses and business expansion in the district.”

In Milford $4.2 million in private investments have been committed through the DDD program for both commercial and residential properties. The State of Delaware has committed to paying $486,652 through State grants and the City of Milford has committed to not collect $84,296.04 in impact fee and permit fee waivers as incentives for qualified projects.

Notable projects that have taken advantage of the DDD program in Milford include the rehabilitation of the former Lou’s Bootery building on Front Street, expansion of the Music School of Delaware on Walnut Street, the creation of the Bank House Bed & Breakfast on North Walnut Street, and the relocation of Davis, Bowen & Freidel on Park Avenue. New projects for this year will include the rehabilitation of the former M&T Bank on Walnut Street.

For small and large projects, rebates of up to 20% are available to qualified investors with qualified real property investments associated with commercial, industrial, residential or mixed-use buildings/facilities located within a designated downtown District. To be considered for a Large Project Reservation, Investors making a qualified real property investment greater than $250,000 must apply to DSHA by no later than May 21, 2018 by 4pm.  Investors making a qualified real property investment between $15,000 and $250,000 may apply on a rolling basis, as long as funding is available.

Additionally, DSHA has received a Strategic Opportunity Funds for Adaptation (SOFA) grant to pay for third-party costs associated with achieving the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver certification.  The grant is capped at $30,000 per building or facility.  DDD Large Project investors may apply for the SOFA grant at time of Rebate Reservation application.

Historic tax credits and other local and state incentives are also available to Investors. More information about other DDD incentives can be found at Potential investors that have any questions regarding DSHA’s DDD Rebate Program and application process, are encouraged to contact Penny Pierson by phone at (302)739-0246 or by email at

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