Lewes’ Reed Ventures buys Sandy Brae homestead on Route 1

Undeveloped property is one of the last ones on the highway in the Cape Region
February 9, 2022

Story Location:
Sandy Brae homestead
18422 Coastal Highway
Lewes, DE 19958
United States

The Sandy Brae homestead, one of the last undeveloped properties in the Cape Region on Route 1, has been sold to Lewes-based real estate company Reed Ventures. According to Sussex County records, the property sold Jan. 18 for $2.45 million.

Reed Ventures founder Joe Reed estimated the house on the property was built somewhere near the 1930s. It’s been home to a number of businesses over the years – Parsell Funeral Home, Cape Henlopen Wicker, and most recently, Willow Marie & Co.

Prior to being used as space for commercial businesses, the property was a farm racing stable. The stones wrapping the outside of the house, and used in its two fireplaces, are from the base of the old Cape Henlopen Lighthouse, which stood atop the Great Dune in what is now Cape Henlopen State Park until it collapsed in 1926.

In an interview Feb. 8, Reed said nothing is definite, but it appears the old farmhouse will likely be demolished. He said he was hoping a law firm or other business that could use the house and barn would be interested, but so far that’s not been the case.

Reed said the size of the property, roughly 1.65 acres, could accommodate a 10,000- to 15,000-square-foot building. He’s working on plans for possible construction of a mixed-use building, but will wait to see what kind of interest is drummed up before spending too much time going down that avenue, he said.

Reed has been in the real estate business locally for decades. He said when he first started, land on Coastal Highway between Five Points and the entrance to downtown Rehoboth Beach was selling at around $50,000 an acre.

“Now, it’s $1.5 million an acre,” said Reed, acknowledging he paid a premium for the property, but also betting the market’s historical return on investment will continue for generally undeveloped land on Coastal Highway. “They’re not making any more of it.”

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