Years in the making, the 40-year-old Baycenter in Dewey Beach has ended its reign as a space for major events at the beach.
Located bayside between Dickinson and VanDyke avenues, demolition of the structure began Nov. 20. The Baycenter in Dewey is the last piece standing of the former Ruddertowne development.
Thomas Harvey, Lighthouse Cove and Harvey Hanna & Associates president, said he is excited to move toward the final phase of the project.
“It will continue to create a positive economic impact for the local economy as well as the thriving tourism industry here in Dewey Beach and coastal Sussex County,” said Harvey in a prepared statement Nov. 20.
The redevelopment of the block-wide property, now called Lighthouse Cove, began in 2011. In September 2013, the 108-room Hyatt Place hotel opened with 16 condominiums. In fall 2014, a section facing Dickinson Avenue opened with 22 more hotel rooms, 10 more condos and the first portion of a parking garage. This past summer, more condos, an expanded parking garage, and the rooftop patio and pool were completed.
Ryan Kennedy, vice president of marketing for Harvey Hanna & Associates, said demolition will take about 30 days. The schedule for new construction is still undefined, he said, but the next phase will feature a long-awaited baywalk, new commercial space, more parking and additional residential condos.
In September 2016, three months before it was set to expire, the town and Dewey Beach Enterprises, owned by Harvey, Hanna & Associates, agreed to a 5-year extension on the 6-year mutual agreement and release, which was signed in February 2011. As part of the extension, escalating penalties create an incentive to finish. The penalty for broaching the extension last year cost $50, $50,000 this year, $150,000 the next year, $400,000 the year after that and then $800,000 in the final year.