In an effort to adapt with the times and shopping trends, Dover City Council has unanimously approved adding distribution, warehousing and logistics as permitted uses for areas zoned regional shopping centers. Dave Hugg, the city’s director of planning and inspection and economic development, said the change was proposed anticipating that Amazon and/or FedEx fulfillment centers could move into the mall. “It’s no secret to all of us that large shopping centers, regional shopping centers across the country are suffering, changing and going through a whole host of modifications,” Mr. Hugg said during the council meeting.
Mr. Hugg said about 12% of the mall is vacant — he attributed most of that to the empty space where Sears was formerly located. Sears closed its doors in 2018 as part of a larger national strategy that saw 40 stores shuttered in 24 states. This new wording only affects Dover Mall as Blue Hen Mall falls into a different zoning classification, Mr. Hugg said.