Find new use for Delphi property

Now that the city of Warren has taken the ”one-stop” government center idea off the table, it might time for the owners of the former Delphi world headquarters on Dana Street to get serious about private investment.

DiPaolo Development Corp. proposed converting the Delphi property into the one-stop. The cost would have been about $1 million less than the $10.5 million the city proposed spending to construct new for its one-stop.

DiPaolo suggested transforming the 120,000-square-foot former Delphi administration building into a business-condominium center that would also include a restaurant, a wellness center, a day care, an outdoor running track and space for other small businesses. The project was to encompass two blocks, including multiple buildings and maybe housing demolition on adjacent property.

The city has stopped pursuing the one-stop idea. DiPaolo is expected to return to the city with a modified one-stop plan.

Rather than work with the city, developer Sergio DiPaolo perhaps instead should turn his attention to others. This area of the city is a high priority for housing demolition for the Trumbull County Land Utilization Corp., or land bank. This area is a high priority for Trumbull Neighborhood Partnership, which plans to follow the demos with a wildflower project that it hopes leads to what it wants to call the city’s ”Garden District.”

To make a real impact would require repopulation and infill. That’s where DiPaolo and maybe others could enter the picture.

Decades ago the philanthropic group Trumbull 100 did an amazing job cleansing the city’s Westlawn district of blight. In hindsight, the only shortcoming was the lack of repopulation and infill. While Westlawn has far less blight and crime, it is mostly deserted, thus producing little tax revenue for the city.

The wrecking ball is coming to the area just northeast of downtown, an area that could one day deserve to be called the Garden District. A repurposed Delphi world headquarters could be the Garden District’s heart, especially with additional players working on repopulating rehabbed houses that offer architectural character and infill that includes much more than flourishing gardens.