Work to begin on Downtown Salisbury high-rise

Construction will get under way this summer on what will be Downtown Salisbury’s tallest building – a project that some see as both ambitious and visionary.

“It will add immense value to Downtown Salisbury and forever alter the skyline,” Weston Young, Wicomico County’s deputy director of administration, said during a groundbreaking ceremony last week.

The 165-foot structure known as The Ross will be built at 130 and 132 East Main St., using the historical facades of the existing buildings and adding nine more stories. 

Nick Simpson, the developer, first arrived in town six years ago as a Salisbury University student and has since been involved with other projects as a partner in Davis Simpson Development, but he has decided to go it alone with The Ross. 

Salisbury, he said, has grown a lot since he first arrived, and he wanted his new building to reflect that. 

“When we first started designing The Ross, we wanted to make a bold statement that Salisbury is a place to live, to work, to bring your business and to invest,” he said at the groundbreaking event. “So we looked to build something that was going to make a new statement.” 

When the building is completed next year, it will have 59 apartments, an open-air rooftop event center, offices and a ground floor restaurant. 

Simpson said he wants visitors and tenants of the building to have a “classy, top-tier experience.” 

Plans include demolishing all but the Main Street facades and then putting in new foundations that will be between 70 feet and 100 feet deep to support the high rise structure, he said.

When finished, it will tower over One Plaza East which stands 90 feet tall.

The demolition and construction at the site will create disruptions Downtown, just as the city’s Main Street improvements have done, said Dave Ryan, Executive Director of Salisbury-Wicomico Economic Development. But that disruption ultimately “creates a space and a place where people want to be,” he said.

Simpson first acquired 132 East Main St., which was built in 1921 as the Independent Order of Odd Fellows Building. He later bought 130 East Main St.

From 1921-1946 the Odd Fellows used the building for its fraternity operations. In 1946 a one-story addition was made to the top of the building. During this time period the first floor housed a movie theater.

Since the close of the theater the structure has been used as office space and has most recently been referred to as the East Main Street Professional Building. 

Simpson plans to market fully furnished apartments to college students that include free parking and wi-fi, a private gym, a community garden, mailroom with package drop, coffee bar, and study room.

Each apartment also will feature 50-inch televisions and washers and dryers.

The rooftop area will be available to rent for weddings and corporate events, Simpson said.

Local leaders who attended the groundbreaking event said they were excited to see the project begin to take shape.

Bill Chambers, President & CEO of the Salisbury Area Chamber of Commerce, said he first met Simpson a year ago, and has been “impressed and amazed.”

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