Something new may be coming to the long-vacant building at the corner of Loockerman and State streets in Dover.
Developer Joe Petrosky of G&J Holdings LLC successfully petitioned the City of Dover Planning Commission Monday night to allow the first floor of the building to be subdivided into offices. The second floor already is set up as office space.
The building, more commonly known as the Priscilla Block, is a two-story brick structure, built around 1896. Part of the building, designated 1 and 3 W. Loockerman, housed the Loockerman Exchange restaurant from May 2008 to February 2012, with a smaller section, 9 W. Loockerman, used as an antiques auction store.
The Priscilla Block is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is part of the Victorian Dover Historic District.
Although he still could use the building as retail space or even as a restaurant, commissioners were told Petrosky needed a conditional use approval since he's been approached by clients who had inquired about using it as office space.
In other actions, commissioners also approved a petition to subdivide an 11.258-acre property now occupied by the Sheraton Dover Hotel and Hampton Inn into three separate parcels. The hotel buildings would occupy two of the parcels, while the third would be used for parking and storm water abatement.
Delaware State University and Sheraton owners KW Lands announced plans in June to lease the hotel as dormitory space for DSU students. The extra room is needed so that current dorms can be renovated.
Commissioners approved a waiver that required at least 30 feet of landscape buffering between the front of the building and U.S. Route 13, primarily because of the existing parking lot. It also denied a request to eliminate installation of sidewalks along the front, as well as a petition to reduce the number of bicycle parking spaces.
The land, now zoned for recreational and commercial use, had to be divided up so the 6-acre Sheraton site could be rezoned for use by DSU.
A rezoning request for the property will go before City Council on July 22, and a public hearing will be held by the planning commission on Aug. 19. If no issues come up to delay the process, a final hearing is scheduled for the Sept. 9 council meeting.