Solomon’s Court will create a total of 18 affordable rental units and 5600 sq. ft. of ground floor commercial space for small businesses in a catalytic new construction development at the corner of Fourth and Rodney St in Wilmington's West Side. Phase I is Under Construction. Phase II is Shovel-Ready.
I. Create Affordable Housing
Solomon’s Court will meet the demand for housing among Delaware’s lowest income renters by creating 18 total units affordable for low-income households, including 6 units in Phase I (under construction) and 12 units in Phase II (shovel-ready).
Focus: Supportive Housing
When Solomon’s Court is completed, a total of 8 apartments will be designed specifically for people with disabilities, including 4 in Phase I and 4 in Phase II. These will include wheel-in showers, accessible kitchens, and wide doorways. All of the units that are not specifically for people with disabilities will be built following the principals of Universal Design. For Phase I, Be Ready CC has a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) agreement with Community Systems, Inc. (CSI), a residential services provider, to rent several of the units so their program members can live in the community. For Phase II, Easterseals will provide supportive services.
Outcome: Address Demand for Affordable Housing
In its Housing Needs Assessment 2015-2020, DSHA produced estimates of demand for housing. DSHA develops these estimates based on the growth of households minus the housing likely to be available. DSHA estimated a demand for 910 housing units for households in Northern New Castle County earning <30% AMI. Further, DSHA estimated that the strongest demand in northern New Castle County would be for 1 bedroom housing units.
DSHA also noted that while demand for rental housing is increasing, much of the state’s housing activity has been focused on homeownership, producing a shortage of rental housing in the state. (DSHA Housing Needs Assessment 2015-2020, p. 51).
II. Grow Small Businesses and Create Jobs
Solomon’s Court Phase II will create a total of 4,000 sq. ft. of commercial space for small businesses. The small businesses that locate in Solomon’s Court ground floor commercial space will provide needed services to the community and create jobs.
Be Ready CDC is partnering with True Access Capital on its commercial leasing strategy. True Access Capital is a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) that empowers business owners and entrepreneurs in Delaware and southeastern Pennsylvania, especially women, minorities and those who are underserved by traditional lenders, with technical expertise and access to capital. True Access is providing technical assistance to Be Ready CDC as well as grants for fit-out expenses to small businesses who locate in the space.
III. Promote Equitable Development
Solomon’s Court will replace a full block of vacant properties on W. Fourth St. between Delamore Place and Rodney St. with new construction. The project’s goal is to bring new life into a community that has not seen development in decades.
Solomon's Court meets the goals of the West Side Revitalization Plan, a neighborhood plan created with the input of over 650 West Side residents, which includes the following recommendation:
“The strategy for the revitalization of 4th Street entails incremental improvements to benefit existing residents and businesses combined with targeted acquisition for catalytic projects that over time have an impact beyond the immediate 4th Street environs and broadcast a message of positive change to the entire city.”