No one likes to watch a vacant house in their neighborhood slowly deteriorate, especially one the size and grandeur of the Gibraltar mansion in Wilmington.
Debate continues on the future of the 6-acre property and its historic gardens. Developers have owned the property since 2010 and have been amassing adjacent parcels for a rehabilitation project.
But the Highland residents aren't happy with their plans to turn the Gibraltar mansion into a boutique hotel, renovate the greenhouse and garage into restaurant and retail space, and build townhomes on vacant land surrounding the property.
Reporter Amanda Fries has been covering the controversy and reported this week that the backlash prompted Wilmington Mayor Mike Purzycki to propose that the city take ownership of the historic Gibraltar mansion and the Marian Coffin gardens.
In exchange for the owners turning the property over to the city, the mayor said Wilmington would agree to subdivide property located adjacent to the mansion and convey an unused portion of 16th Street to allow developers to build six single-family homes. The mansion would remain zoned residential, he wrote, and the garage area would be rezoned commercial to allow for limited retail or a restaurant.
The gardens would be improved and maintained by the city, 9SDC, and Preservation Delaware, Purzycki outlined.
Residents have a lot of concerns about the mayor's proposals and want the current owners held responsible for the condition of the mansion,
Read the full story: Mayor proposes new idea to save, renovate historic Gibraltar mansion. Would it work?
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This article originally appeared on Delaware News Journal: Gibraltar mansion could be saved by Wilmington ownership plan