Building code violations included "structural deterioration, roof leaks, mold, [problems with] electrical, plumbing and mechanical equipment and problems with the exterior finishes, such as deteriorating trim work, damaged or missing siding, broken windows and peeling paint," city building official Josh Littleton wrote in the notice of condemnation.
The shopping center, which is owned by the Cordish Companies in Baltimore, has 32 units. The other 16 units that were condemned in 2010 are still awaiting a fix up. Cordish is not working on any of them, Littleton said.
One of the condemned buildings, the [stand-alone] structure that used to house the Thriftway grocery store, was slapped with a demolition order in December 2010. More than four years after that order was issued, "there is no timetable for demolition," Littleton said.
Lauren Mills is the Media and Marketing specialist for Body and Soul. She said that she hopes that the new gym "plants the seed" to get other people interested in establishing businesses in the shopping center.
"With so many people living on the west side of Seaford, without a grocery store or many other stores, this is a great opportunity," Mills said.
Mills said that business at Body and Soul has been good so far. "There were a lot of people excited about our opening," she said. "And we've had great initial membership signups."
Carannante hopes that the new gym will bring more people to the shopping center. Already, he said, his restaurant has seen a slight increase in business. "We are always hoping for better," he added.
Mills dismisses the idea that, with two apartment complexes nearby, safety in the Body and Soul parking lot could be a problem.
"That is not an issue whatsoever," she said. "That's never been an issue for Sal's and we haven't had even the slightest hint of that."
The Nylon Capital Shopping Center's four [buildings] total more than 241,000 square feet. It is one of 18 shopping centers owned by the Cordish Companies.
Cordish also owns 13 shopping centers in Maryland, including Ocean Landing in Ocean City, two in Virginia and two additional centers in Delaware, Milford Landing in Milford and the Rehoboth Mall near Rehoboth Beach. In addition, it has developed shopping and entertainment centers throughout the country, in Atlantic City, St. Louis, Houston, San Francisco, Philadelphia and Sacramento.
Mills praised Cordish for its cooperation in getting Body and Soul up and running.
The Baltimore company renovated the two units so that they were habitable, she said. It also repaved and striped the parking lot, put in landscaping and installed new security lights. Body and Soul designed and finished the inside of the buildings.
"These units have been empty for so long," she said. "They were very excited to have some [interest] expressed in moving in, and were very responsive to us."
On its website, Cordish advertises the Nylon Capital Shopping Center as an "attractive mix of products, services and dining." The center is "conveniently located at the intersection of Route 20 and Route 30 in the heart of Seaford's largest neighborhood," it adds.
By Lynn Parks