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Residences at Rodney Square (Delaware Trust Building)
After Alfred I. du Pont of Nemours (BR26) quarreled with cousin Pierre and withdrew from the family company, he built his own office tower to rival the nearby DuPont Building (WL32). He took out a construction permit for $1.2 million, the largest to date in the city. New York City architects Dennison and Hirons designed the fourteen-story, classicizing structure; they had studied at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris and became partners in 1910. The wings, when added by a Philadelphia firm, cost another $1.2 million and featured a great novelty, an underground parking garage. In order to retain the Hercules chemical company, a major tenant, a twenty-two-story International Style tower clad in pink porcelainized enamel was inserted within the light court (1958–1960, W. Ellis Preston), at which time the cornices were removed from the original building. At 679,000 square feet, the resulting office building was one of the state's largest. Its fate seemed uncertain after a fire in 1997 forced its closure. Subsequently, developers converted it into 280 upscale apartments, removing the tower of the 1950s in the process. Their conversion formed part of several ongoing efforts to establish a residential district downtown—a complete reversal of the ill-fated urban renewal principles of the 1950s that deliberately sought to minimize such residences in order to reduce congestion.
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