Press Release -- September 03, 2009
Delaware Welcome Center Travel Plaza CLOSES TUESDAY for Renovations

Ten month closure begins after Labor Day

Newark -- The Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT) and contractor HMSHost Corporation remind travelers that the Delaware Welcome Center Travel Plaza will close at 1 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 8, after Labor Day weekend.

The existing travel plaza on I-95 near Newark will close so that construction can begin on the new Welcome Center. As soon as next summer, travelers can expect to see a 42,000-square-foot main building and 5,700 square-foot gas facility, including a convenience store, and 21 fuel pumps that will also include high-speed diesel fuel dispensers. The main facility will incorporate many elements of Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards in design and construction. Energy and water conservation equipment and fixtures will be used throughout the facility in conjunction with local stone and recycled materials.

DelDOT and HMSHost will work closely with the Delaware Economic Development Office (DEDO), the Wilmington Convention & Visitors Bureau and other state and local tourism agencies to create a new Delaware State Visitor Center, within the Welcome Center. The Visitor Center will provide information on local and statewide attractions, events and activities. An upgrade to the entire parking lot will include a new truck parking area, a new Sunoco gas service station and an A Plus Convenience Store. This site will be environmentally friendly with the addition of 50 spaces of Cabaire truck parking with anti-idle truck electrification hookups. One of the retail stores will be "Postcards from Delaware" - home to regional Delaware products that highlight the state's distinctive history, heritage and culture.

Construction will last for about ten months. Approximately 250 jobs will be created throughout the renovation timeframe. When complete, the new Welcome Center will employ 225 HMSHost associates.

Beginning in June 2010, HMSHost will stagger the openings, delivering the Sunoco gas station and the A Plus convenience store first, followed by new food and retail offerings. Brand name food outlets and retailers will include: Baja Fresh, Z Market, Starbucks Coffee, Burger King, Brioche Doree Bakery Cafe, Cinnabon/Carvel and Famous Famiglia Pizza. Annually more than 3 million people made the existing plaza a stop on their travel itinerary - a number sure to grow once the expanded offerings are available in 2010.

For more information, visit DelDOT's Web site at www.deldot.gov or www.delawarewelcomecenter.com.