The Warehouse is a groundbreaking project changing trajectories for teenagers in the historically under-resourced Riverside community in Northeast Wilmington. And last Thursday, Aug. 5, the tent set up outside in its courtyard for its official grand opening wasn’t big enough to cover the crowd of partners, elected officials and community members who had come to celebrate it.
If a grand opening of The Warehouse comes as a surprise, considering it’s been launching programs over the past two years, note that the event marked a milestone for the REACH Riverside organization.
The building, once home to Marion T Academy and later Prestige charter schools, has been completely renovated, with state-of-the-art spaces for collaboration, workforce development, creativity and fitness, as well as a small high school, Kingswood Academy. They have an indoor farm, an electric bus and a small garage that will soon be The Garage, an entrepreneur incubator. The courtyard will also see a renovation into a Constitution Yards-style space.
The Warehouse has been in development since around 2018, including as a prototyping project in the design learning program Dual School. There are now plans to grow and duplicate it across the city, in neighborhoods like the East Side, West Center City, Southbridge and the West Side.
A new $500,000 grant from the Delaware Community Foundation will help it grow. The grant was announced at the event, complete with a giant check presentation — and followed by the announcement that a patch of street to the side of The Warehouse at 11th and Thatcher Street has been officially renamed Teen Warehouse Way. Also announced were the new teenage members of the executive board.
The timing of the grand opening also coincided with a major announcement last week: that Capital One has donated its $4.2 million building on the riverfront adjacent to Tubman-Garrett Park to Delaware State University, bringing the state’s HBCU into the city with accessible education and workforce development opportunities. That includes The Warehouse’s RISE workforce development program for teens that partners with local businesses and organizations, including ChristianaCare, Code Differently, Buccini/Pollin Group, NERDiT Now and Chef Tyler Akin of La Cavalier.
“We’re building a pipeline,” REACH Riverside CEO Logan Herring said in his opening remarks at Thursday’s event. “It’s important for you to understand the groundswell of support we have for The Warehouse. It’s not about me, it’s not about you or The Warehouse, it’s about them,” as he motions toward the young adults who built it.
You can watch the whole event on REACH Riverside’s Facebook.-30-