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In The News

Pharma start-up gets state grant; plans call for hiring up to 49 biotech positions

From Delaware Business Now

Prelude Therapeutics, a privately-held, clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company, plans to add up to 49 biotech positions by 2022 and invest $5 million in expanded lab and office space in the Wilmington area.

Prelude conducts research focused on key drivers of cancer cell growth, survival, and resistance. The company has two clinical trials in progress, with more pre-clinical development candidates in the pipeline.

The company is outgrowing its current locations, split between the Delaware Innovation Space (located on the site of the former DuPont Experimental Station) in Wilmington and nearby overflow office space.

The Delaware Council on Development Finance (CDF) recently approved Prelude for a Performance Grant of $684,090 and a Capital Expenditure grant of $150,000 for a total of up to $834,090. Both would come from the Delaware Strategic Fund and both are contingent on Prelude meeting its hiring goals.

The Delaware Development Partnership assisted Prelude.

With the additional jobs, Prelude’s team will expand to a projected total of 81 employees by 2022. The new positions include professional scientists and skilled associates and will add approximately $5.5 million to its annual payroll.

Prelude began operations in 2016 with a handful of employees and has now grown to 32 people. The company has raised $95 million in funding for its work.

 

Read more:

https://delawarebusinessnow.com/2019/10/pharma-start-up-gets-state-grant-plans-call-for-hiring-up-to-49-biotech-positions/

Gov. Carney’s office won’t say whether Paradee sister did legal review for DE Turf bill

From the News Journal

Gov. John Carney’s office would not comment Monday whether Jacqueline Mette, deputy legal counsel to the governor and Sen. Trey Paradee’s sister, conducted the legal review for her brother’s controversial DE Turf hotel tax bill.

Mette serves on Carney’s four-person legal team that reviews all bills passed by the General Assembly before the governor considers them.

The hotel tax bill, should Kent County officials approve it, could benefit a proposed development championed by John Paradee, brother of Trey Paradee and Mette.

John Paradee also sits on the board of DE Turf, a private sports complex near Frederica that would receive all of the tax revenue, estimated to be about $1 million a year.

Trey Paradee, a Dover-area state senator, sponsored the bill, which was pushed through the Legislature during its final hours in June.

More than half of legislators who voted in favor of the bill and responded to Delaware Online/The News Journal said they would have reconsidered their yes vote had they known of the potential conflict. Many others said they would have pressed for more details.

 

Read more:

https://www.delawareonline.com/story/news/politics/2019/10/28/gov-carneys-office-wont-say-whether-paradee-sister-did-legal-review-de-turf-bill/2483634001/

Why the DE Turf vote has some Delaware lawmakers second-guessing

From the News Journal

Some members of the Delaware General Assembly are second-guessing their yes votes on a bill that allowed Kent County to tax hotel stays and give the resulting $1 million in revenue to DE Turf, a sports complex near Frederica.

After learning the tax could benefit a proposed development championed by John Paradee – brother to the lawmaker who sponsored the bill – Sen. Cathy Cloutier, R-Heatherbrook, is one of the lawmakers who thinks there is a conflict of interest.

“It doesn’t look good,” Cloutier said.

Bill sponsor Sen. Trey Paradee, D-Dover, said he had “no idea” about his brother’s involvement in the development or that he sat on DE Turf’s board.

But in 2014, when plans for the sports complex began to move forward, The News Journal reported that John Paradee was one of the developers of Asbury Square.

 

Read more:

https://www.delawareonline.com/story/news/politics/2019/10/18/why-some-delaware-lawmakers-second-guessing-their-vote-de-turf-bill/2049336001/

Report recommends raising visibility of Delaware’s tech sector as way to attract, retain workers

From Delaware Business Now

Tech Impact released a report that explores best practices in attracting developing and retaining skilled talent for Delaware’s technology jobs.

“Banking, one of Delaware’s most historic and long-standing industries, has evolved into financial technology—or fintech—creating significant local demand for tech employees. However, a recent report focused on the state’s fintech sector stated that ‘…a national shortage of tech talent means that Delaware financial services firms are competing for top talent with firms in tech and non-tech industries across the country. Continuing to build a robust pipeline of tech talent at institutions within Delaware and the broader region will be critical in meeting local employer demand.’

The same report—released in 2019 by Delaware Prosperity Partnership, First State Fintech Lab, and the University of Delaware’s Biden School of Public Policy & Administration—found that in 2018, ‘tech occupations accounted for 19 percent of the job openings [at] twenty financial services firms… At Capital One, tech jobs accounted for 43 percent of the job postings, while at TD the figure was 29 percent, and 26 percent at JP Morgan Chase.'”

Read more: https://delawarebusinessnow.com/2019/10/report-recommends-raising-visibility-of-delawares-tech-sector-as-way-to-attract-retain-workers/

Big Delaware-based breweries are picking other states to expand. This is why

From the News Journal

When commercial real estate agents brought Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant officials a possible location for a new brewpub, the site looked promising.

It was the former home of Don Pablo’s Mexican restaurant near the Christiana Mall, which closed in late 2018 after a 19-year-run.

Not only was the site in a high-traffic area, but the brewery had previously converted a former Don Pablo’s restaurant in South Carolina and it wasn’t a big job, thanks to Don Pablo’s brick buildings, which fit Iron Hill’s aesthetic.

But Iron Hill, which got its start on Newark’s Main Street in 1996 and has grown into a regional chain with 19 locations in five states, couldn’t pull the trigger on the deal for one reason: Delaware law.

Delaware Code states that a licensee is limited to three brewpubs in the state. And since Iron Hill already had spots in Newark, Wilmington and Rehoboth Beach, they were forced to expand elsewhere.

 

Read more: https://www.delawareonline.com/story/life/2019/10/10/legislators-looking-change-delaware-code-brewpubs/3906398002/

Economic changes push need for new workforce training

From Delaware State News

DOVER — The future of work is changing.

People born in 2019 will probably have very different career paths than their grandparents or even their parents.

Globalization, automation, computerization — the economy of the 21st century is shaping up to be dramatically different than the one that emerged after World War II and led to prosperity for so many Americans in the second half of the 1900s.

If the newest generations are to be successful, business leaders, education officials and policymakers will have to keep an eye to the future and make changes, several people said Tuesday at a conference on workforce development.

The event, hosted by the State Chamber of Commerce, was intended to shine a spotlight on issues companies face in finding qualified workers.
Despite the unemployment rate falling to pre-recession levels (including, earlier this year, the best months in that regard in 50 years), the state still has a scarcity of workers in many fields, especially blue-collar ones such as construction and autowork.

While it’s unknown what Delaware’s economy will look like in 20 years, it’s safe to say it probably won’t be predicated on the four Cs — chemicals, credit cards, cars and chickens — that have been so important to the state for decades.

 

Read more: https://delawarestatenews.net/news/economic-changes-push-need-for-new-workforce-training/

Iron Hill opts for production location in Exton, PA after inaction by General Assembly

From Delaware Business Now

After an unsuccessful effort to change a Delaware law that limits the number of breweries owned by one company, Wilmington-based Iron Hill has signed a lease to build a production brewery in Exton, PA.

The brewery is expected to open in the summer of 2020 at The Shops on Eagleview Boulevard (240 Eagleview Boulevard).

The location will be known as Iron Hill Brewery & Taphouse.

Iron Hill has three breweries in Delaware and needed a change in the law that limits it to that number. The state’s liquor laws also ban supermarket sales, while limiting the number of liquor stores owned by one entity to two.

Pennsylvania, while maintaining a system of state-owned liquor stores, has loosened regulations on sales of beer and wine at grocery and convenience stores.

 

Read more:

https://delawarebusinessnow.com/2019/09/iron-hill-opts-for-production-location-in-exton-pa-after-inaction-by-general-assembly/

Despite improvement, Delaware’s 2018 taxpayer burden still gets an F

From The News Journal

Most people have budgets to manage their money, pay their bills and save what is left.

Spending more money than you bring in can cause problems, and that’s why the Chicago-based think tank Truth in Accounting analyzes every state’s expenses and how much revenue they bring in.

Delaware is one of nine states to receive a grade F for its taxpayer burden. Those nine states would need additional money from taxpayers to pay off its bills.

Delaware would need an additional $27,100 per taxpayer to fully pay its bills each year, according to 2018 data released by TIA.

The taxpayer burden lowered to -$27,100 in 2018 from -$30,400 the year before. TIA calculated taxpayer burden by the state’s bills divided by the number of taxpayers.

“Though it got better,” said Sheila Weinberg, founder and CEO at TIA, “Delaware is more of an outlier because they don’t put enough money towards retirees’ health care liability and pension liability.”

Weinberg says Delaware saves 3 cents for every dollar for retirees’ health care liability. The only worst state is New York at 1 cent.

Read more:

https://www.delawareonline.com/story/news/politics/2019/09/30/despite-improvement-delawares-2018-taxpayer-burden-still-gets-f/2370396001/

Dover Mall expansion idles

From Delaware State News

DOVER — In 2017, extensive legislative groundwork was laid to significantly grow the almost 40-year-old Dover Mall.

The owners, Simon Property Group along with Western Development Corp., showcased blueprints that would add about 54,700 square feet for new stores to the current mall and build a “power center” to the east with 22 buildings covering more than 550,000 square feet.

The hitch that would make the expansion possible was a proposed Del. 1 toll road entrance on the east side of the mall that would cost an estimated $31 million to build.

A new road would allow for direct access to the expanded mall complex from the state’s arterial highway.

In the developers’ vision, the Dover Mall would start to resemble the Christiana Mall, which boasts 175 stores plus several outlying retail centers.
John Paradee, a Dover lawyer representing the firms, helped steer seven different pieces of legislation supporting the project in 2017.

“The Dover Mall is in jeopardy as it currently exists,” he said at the time.
Mr. Paradee claimed the construction of the access road would greatly enhance the mall’s profile, which would ultimately bring more companies and shoppers.

“We’re already talking to people who have told us, ‘if you build it, we will come,’” he said at the time.

Read more:

https://delawarestatenews.net/news/dover-mall-expansion-idles/

Christiana Care Health System, state’s largest private employer, to offer paid parental leave?

From the News Journal

Christiana Care Health System delivered good news to its employees Wednesday: It will start offering paid parental leave to employees — a benefit the state’s largest private employer has not previously offered.

Beginning July 2020, the health system will offer at least 12 weeks of paid parental leave to its 12,000 employees. The leave will only apply to employees who are parents for the birth, adoption or fostering of their child.

“We know that the bond formed between mother and child in the first few weeks of life can have a tremendous impact on the health of the baby and the well-being of the family,” Dr. Janice Nevin, the health system’s CEO, said in press release.

Nevin said in an email to employees that the issue became a focus for the administration last year after a survey about benefits.

Christiana’s move followed the Delaware General Assembly last year passing legislation to grant state employees 12 weeks of paid family leave. The state government is the largest employer in Delaware.

 

Read more:

https://www.delawareonline.com/story/news/health/2019/09/18/christiana-care-health-system-offer-paid-parental-leave/2363998001/