South Bay Road and Blue Hen Boulevard
Dover, Delaware

The first fully-enclosed shopping center in the Blue Hen State was developed by Wilmington's Jardel Company, Incorporated and built on 64 acres, located .8 miles southeast of the Delaware State House.

BLUE HEN MALL encompassed approximately 450,000 leasable square feet and originally housed thirty-two stores and services. Its tenant roster would eventually list over fifty. The complex consisted of a main retail level, with an upper level Professional Concourse over half of its South Wing.

A 1-level (80,000 square foot) Woolco discount mart was dedicated August 20, 1968. A 2-level (181,500 square foot) J.C. Penney co-anchored the shopping hub. Charter tenants included Thrift Drug, Braunstein's, Danneman's Fabrics, World Wide Imports and an F.W Woolworth 5 & 10. The Schwartz Theatres Dover Cinema showed its first feature March 5, 1969.

A deal with Sears, to add a third anchor store to the southwest-facing front of the complex, fell through in the late 1970s. The mall would never be physically expanded.

A formidable commercial competitor came on the scene in the summer of 1982. DOVER MALL {3.1 miles northwest, also in Dover} encompassed over 600,000 leasable square feet. It immediately put the hurt on its older and smaller counterpart.

Following the January 1983 closing of Woolco, Henderson, North Carolina-based Roses moved into the space. The ongoing decline of BLUE HEN MALL was hastened considerably when Penney's defected, to a new store at DOVER MALL, on July 28, 1993.

In October of the same year, Great Neck, New York-based Blue Realty Corporation acquired the struggling shopping complex. At this time, the Woolworth store was in the process of being liquidated. Roses pulled out of its spot in January 1994.

With two idle anchors and many inline store vacancies, it was decided to remarket the past its prime property as a professional complex. The empty Penney's became offices for Aetna Health Care and the State of Delaware, with the old Woolco / Roses re-opening as a NationsBank Credit Card Services Center.

The structure was renovated with new roofing, HVAC and electrical systems. Moreover, several windows and exterior entries were installed. The renewed office complex, known as BLUE HEN CORPORATE CENTER, was officially unveiled in November 1994.

Today, the former retail hub is owned by the Newport, Delaware-based Petinaro Real Estate Development Company. The Bank of America (nee' NationsBank) Credit Card Services Center closed in late 2006.

This was followed by the shuttering of Aetna's offices, in December 2009. The Aetna complex, in the old J.C. Penney, was sectioned into eight office suites. In October 2013, it was announced that the Bay Health Center would lease 15,000 square feet of the structure.

Sources: / Article posted by "Caldor" / Comments by Steve, Chris, Griffin and Sandi Nauman
The Morning News (Wilmington, Delaware)