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Delaware State University returns to Wilmington, taking over former Capital One building – The News Journal

An empty Wilmington office building with views of the Brandywine and Christina River will soon be bustling with Delaware State University students, small-business owners and others developing skills for the workforce.
Only a few traces of DSU’s red and light blue were present in the building Friday on doormats and temporary signs as the university celebrated its takeover of the space. But by the fall, “DSU Riverfront,” as President Tony Allen called it, will be on its way to increasing employment opportunities for students and expanding the university’s reach throughout the state.
The six-story office building is at One S. Orange St., flanked by Banks Seafood Kitchen to the south and Tubman Garret Riverfront Park to the east. Capital One donated the building to DSU in August.
It will headquarter the university’s school for graduate, adult and continuing education students, a new partnership with Teen Warehouse’s workforce development center and an incubation hub for small businesses with a focus on minority and women-owned companies.
The acquisition of the building is one of several moves made recently by DSU to expand. The university in July finalized its deal for Dover’s Wesley College. In 2020, it built a $5.5 million molecular diagnostic lab at its Kirkwood Highway facility.
Deaz Nunco, a junior from Townsend studying computer science, was one of several student volunteers who traveled from Dover to Wilmington for Friday’s event. He decided to make the trip to show his support for the university’s growth.
“I feel like we don’t have a lot of backing, but with the backing of Capital One maybe we can put HBCUs on the map,” he said.
When Diane Williams Young worked at Wilmington High School and Dickinson High School she always pushed students toward DSU. Williams Young, who recently retired and is a DSU graduate of the class of 1971, is proud of the university’s recent expansion, which she believes will put DSU at or beyond the academic level of other nearby schools.
“What we had then and what we have now, it’s tremendous,” she said.
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Most of the six-floor building has an open floor plan that will be adapted to the needs of each of the involved organizations. Only walls of exposed brick, each with two archways, divide the space. The ceiling exposes wooden support beams, fitting the rustic architecture. Desks and office chairs from Capital One remain. 
The bank stopped using the nearly 150-year-old building in late 2018 as it consolidated its Wilmington workforce to Delaware Avenue.
The building went on the market and some offers were made, the company said, but the pandemic largely froze the market. They then decided to offer the building to DSU, which fit into a $200 million campaign undertaken by the company to help close gaps in equity and opportunity.
The institutions previously said the building’s value was around $4.7 million.
“We made the determination that if we could find the right partner, donating the building to a great use to the city would be a great option to us,” Joe Westcott, the Delaware market president, told Delaware Online/The News Journal when Capital One donated the building.
Capital One will continue to be involved with DSU in multiple capacities. Among them, the company announced an executive mentorship program Friday that will pair Capital One executives with DSU sophomores beginning in the spring.
Contact Brandon Holveck at bholveck@delawareonline.com. Follow him on Twitter @holveck_brandon.

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