Joshua Keeran | The Gazette

Work continues on the restoration of the former C.C.C.& I. Railroad Depot on Lake Street, and RiverWest Partners LLC is ready to move forward with the second phase of the project. During the July 26 meeting of the Delaware Historic Preservation Commission (HPC), the commission granted a certificate of appropriateness for the proposed site improvements included in the second phase.

RiverWest purchased the depot, which was built in 1885, from CSX Transportation in 2019, and the first phase of renovations was approved by the commission in March 2022. Included in the initial renovations were a roof replacement, wooden door restorations, masonry restoration, and the reconstruction of the roof overhang on the east side of the building. That work is ongoing but is expected to be completed soon.

Now, RiverWest will begin new site work as well as add site utilities and landscaping, all of which are expected to be completed prior to the winter months. Projects in the second phase include the demolition of existing site components, grading, underground utilities, a new asphalt parking lot, a new pea gravel patio, concrete walkways, repairing the existing retaining wall, adding a black chainlink fence along the east property line at the railroad right-of-way, and installing a new metal handrail at the east entrance.

RiverWest co-founder Brenen Palma, adding clarity to the inclusion of the patio in the plans, said phase two consists of the sidewalk and grading that would allow for a patio to be built by a tenant in the future if desired. He noted the patio would be constructed in coordination with the tenant but not before those intentions were made known by the tenant.

According to city documents for the project, the second phase also includes a new driveway approach with ADA-accessible curb ramps along Central Avenue for access to the parking lot. A new lawn will be installed while the existing lawn will be repaired.

Following the presentation of the proposal, Councilman Drew Farrell said of the plan, “This is a good second phase. Other than the other project (RiverWest) is doing, this is the biggest project on the east side right now. I think it’s a good stepping stone for, hopefully, getting to the point where you guys have a tenant and we can see that space active again.”

The five HPC members in attendance on Wednesday voted unanimously to approve the elements of the second phase.

A future third phase of the project will be contingent upon the tenant of the site and will consist of interior fit-out work related to the requirements of that tenant. That work will include the distribution of all mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems from the building stub-ins installed as part of phase two.

Reach Dillon Davis at 740-413-0904. Follow him on Twitter @DillonDavis56.