This important commercial grouping has survived intact and conveys the flavor of the mid-nineteenth-century Wilmington business district. Some buildings already appeared in a daguerreotype (c. 1850) made not long after a telegraph line was strung down the street. In 1998, a plan was devised to spend $107 million transforming six blighted blocks into a vibrant Ships Tavern District, the most ambitious preservation effort in Delaware history (honored with a National Trust for Historic Preservation award in 2005). Starting with this block, twenty-two old buildings were gutted and converted into eighty-six apartments, no two alike. Developers and city officials hoped to lure “upscale-funky” renters. The project was plagued by construction delays and lack of parking, and in 2006, Struever Brothers announced it would undertake no further development here, a setback to the entire Ships Tavern District effort.
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Ships Tavern Mews
18th century–early 20th century. 1998–2003 restored, Curtis Harkin of Homsey Architects, with Struever Brothers Eccles and Rouse and Wilmington Renaissance Corporation. West side of Market St., between 2nd and 3rd sts.
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