WILMINGTON – The pharmaceutical research company Incyte Corp. is seeking to expand its Alapocas campus after reportedly entering into a $50 million sale agreement for the lower school campus of the nearby Wilmington Friends School.
School board chairwoman Susan Kelley and head of school Ken Aldridge detailed the agreement reached in October for the 20-acre property in a letter recently mailed to the Quaker school’s families, alumni and supporters, as first reported by TownSquare Delaware.
The private school will use the proceeds of the sale to consolidate all of its grades into one campus, something it hasn’t been able to do since the 1970s when the school acquired the lower school property.
“The Board also recognizes that the marketplace is changing for independent schools in Delaware, with downward trends in demographics and the availability of more cost-free educational options for families. This opportunity to significantly grow our endowment could be transformative,” they wrote in an October letter to families.
According to school leaders, the lower school wouldn’t close until its replacement was completed at the main campus, which may not be until August 2023. The sale agreement is contingent on reviews of traffic, zoning and construction by both the school and Incyte, and a formal plan isn’t expected to be completed until May 2020, officials said.
The lower campus school, which houses the school’s pre-K to fifth grade programs off Edgewood Road, is located about a quarter mile away from the main campus off Alapocas Drive. The lower school also sits directly adjacent to Incyte’s headquarters, the old Wanamaker Building off Augustive Cut-off, which it purchased for nearly $80 million in 2016.
The acquisition would allow for more growth of the 18-year-old company that also built a four-story office building adjacent to its headquarters two years ago. In September, the county also signed off on a plan to build a six-story lab and office building and a two-story parking garage, which will bring all of Incyte’s American employees to one campus.
Incyte, which has a nearly $17 billion market cap, employs more than 1,300 people worldwide, according to Forbes. The company has not yet returned a call for comment on the sale agreement for the Friends property and whether it has future plans for the land.
By Jacob Owens