County purchases property to expand industrial park

Date Published: 
March 24, 2017

Sussex County recently purchased King Farm, a 74-acre property off Park Avenue, east of Georgetown, for $2.2 million. The property will be added to the adjacent Sussex County Industrial Park, which currently houses 20 businesses that employ approximately 900 people.

At the March 14 County Council meeting, County Administrator Todd Lawson said the County already has one tenant lined up — Atlantis Industries Corporation. Atlantis is leasing their portion of the property for $500,000.

Thad Schippereit, president of Atlantis, said the company makes injection-molded plastics, serving mostly military, automotive, medical and plumbing needs.

“Our plan from Day 1, from buying the business, was to grow it,” he said. “This new facility is going to give us the space and opportunity to make larger parts efficiently.”

The company has already broken ground on the property, building a 40,000-square-foot facility, and hopes to expand its workforce by up to 25 employees.

Lawson said the County is currently in discussions with another company that is interested in leasing space in the park.

The property will have water, sewer, natural gas and access to various transportation options, including Truck Route 9, Delaware Coastal Airport and railroad spurs.

Greg Moore of Becker Morgan presented the council with a variety of layouts as to how the property could be parceled out. The County will create 12 lots for businesses and a connecting road to the existing industrial park, located to the west.

There was also discussion as to whether or not the Route 9 entrance should have a guardhouse. Lawson said the County has had a mixed reaction to that idea from its current tenants.

“It is going to be a question for us to consider going forward, based on the likes and needs of our tenants.”

Also at the March 14 meeting, Assistant County Attorney Vince Robertson and Planning & Zoning Director Janelle Cornwall updated the council on the previous week’s Comprehensive Plan workshop.

“We had a really good, productive workshop on the 8th,” reported Robertson.

The Planning & Zoning Commission was given an overview of the plan and then decided on an order of elements to discuss. Last week, they reviewed historic preservation. In the future, they will review community design, economic development, water and wastewater, mobility, future land use, conservation, parks and recreation, housing and more.

The commission also reviewed a draft vision statement created by County staff that states, “Sussex County offers a unique quality of life for its residents and visitors alike. We appreciate and seek to preserve its unique natural, historical and agricultural character while fostering new economic opportunities and desirable growth. To accomplish this, Sussex County will balance the welfare of its citizens and its role as an agricultural leader and tourist destination with the most appropriate future uses of land, water and other resources.”

Cornwall said the draft vision statement is on the County’s Comprehensive Plan website for the public to provide comment.

The commission will continue to meet to discuss the plan, with the next meeting scheduled for March 22 at 9 a.m. in council chambers, to discuss economic development. A workshop is also scheduled for Tuesday, March 29, at 9 a.m. to discuss future land use.

For more information on the County’s Comprehensive Plan, visit www.SussexPlan.com.