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Nonprofit group buys Zwaanendael Club

Historic building to serve as ‘Lewes living room’
February 26, 2024

The Delaware Community Foundation has completed its purchase of the historic Zwaanendael Club building at 302 Savannah Road in Lewes.

The Lewes Historical Society had owned the building since 2015. LHS put the Z Club on the market in December for $899,900.

Mike DiPaolo, DCF vice president for southern Delaware, said the sale price was about the asking price.

Museum consultants Gallagher & Associates recommended LHS sell the underused building to generate much-needed revenue.

Gallagher said the antiques shop that had been operating there could make more money if it moved to the LHS campus at 110 Shipcarpenter St. The store is scheduled to reopen there in the spring.

Andrew Lyter, LHS executive director, had said the money from the sale will help offset the organization’s debt and help sustain it in the future.

DCF is a nonprofit with a mission to improve Delaware through community-based philanthropy.

DiPaolo said DCF has offices in Wilmington, but the Lewes space will be a different concept for the organization.

“DCF is already part of the vibrant beach community in Lewes. This new space will be a great place for nonprofits and the community to come together to collaborate,” DiPaolo said.

“It will serve as our living room in Lewes, a space specifically designed to foster discussion as well as host programs and meetings,” said Stuart Comstock-Gay, DCF president and CEO.

The Zwaanendael Club was built in 1898 by the Sussex Trust Title and Safe Deposit Company. It has also served as a store and a lending library.

The building is in the Lewes Historic District, so the exterior cannot be significantly changed. 

DCF said it is planning extensive renovations inside to turn the space into a salon-style gathering place.

The organization said it plans to reopen the building in late spring.

 

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