City, developer to examine downtown high-rise proposal


Discussions have begun between the mayor and City Council and local developer David Harkins, who has proposed building a residential and commercial complex downtown.

Harkins responded to the city’s offer to develop two of the three downtown parking lots.

He wants to build, between Cellar Door Tavern in the Plaza Gateway Building and the Wicomico County Public Library — designated as Lot 1, top and bottom, and 11 — a massive building unlike any that has ever been built in Downtown Salisbury.

Proposed are 200 apartments, 46,000 square feet of retail space, 17,600 square feet of public space, a boutique, hotel, restaurant, outdoor amenities, multi-level parking garage with more retail, open space and additional project amenities.

Funding would be both public and private, according to the mayor’s office.

The City Council approved Mayor Jim Ireton’s request for city administration to enter into an exclusive negotiation period with Harkins’ company, Harkins Concrete Construction.

The owner couldn’t be reached for comment.

During the negotiation period, the project will be discussed in detail. Discussions began July 1 and will continue six months.

The city agreed not to sell the property during that time.

Development objectives set by the city include focusing on interrelated issues of the economy, fiscal stability, the natural environment, housing, design and community development, the mayor’s office said.

Revitalization goals are increasing the number of jobs, housing units, resident population and amount of commercial square footage and removing the impervious surface area, the mayor’s office said.

Ireton called the proposal “Incredibly good news for downtown.”

“Expanding our economic base, creating new jobs, and making downtown home for many new residents has always been our goal,” Ireton said.

“New customers for our downtown businesses will lead to continued success. As these phases are completed over the next several years, they will be the next chapter in our downtown Salisbury success story,” he said in a statement.

The company has completed work at Peninsula Regional Medical Center, Willards Elementary School and Gateway Grand in Ocean City, among others.

The downtown Salisbury project is expected to take six years to complete.


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