FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WOWO): The City of Fort Wayne today highlighted continued progress with current downtown development projects and shared the challenges the City is faced with when additional projects are proposed.
Over the past decade, downtown revitalization efforts have resulted in nearly $1 billion of investment in the heart of Fort Wayne.
In addition to highlighting successes, City leaders today also explained the complexity of projects and how some proposed developments sometimes don’t work out. Various factors include the need for additional financial resources and making sure taxpayers are protected through public-private partnerships.
Recently, for instance, a development team proposed a mixed-use project for the High Street area near the riverfront. Conceptually, it’s a promising project, but the developers’ list of requests presented to the City of Fort Wayne were outside of the scope of what the City has done in the past and placed the balance of risk more on taxpayers than the developer. It just wasn’t going to be a good fit financially with the public-private partnership being swayed too far to the public side. Additionally, the City has a number of projects already underway or close to being started with available public funding set aside for those initiatives.
“The City of Fort Wayne will continue to pursue effective public-private partnerships to stimulate job creation and private investment in the City, but our City leadership has a responsibility to review these potential partnerships judiciously to prevent overexposure of risk to taxpayer dollars,” said Nancy Townsend, director, City of Fort Wayne’s Community Development Division. “We are excited about the list of projects in the works for the City and will continue our efforts to bring in more jobs, investments, and enhance the quality of life in Fort Wayne through projects that make good financial sense for our citizens and taxpayers.”
-The Riverfront at Promenade Park broke ground in February. The $88 million development is the first private investment along the riverfront and will include housing, a parking garage, and office and retail space.
-Construction has started at Electric Works and will serve as an important economic driver and quality of life offering, and Do it Best is in the process of moving their international headquarters to the campus.
-The Bradley is scheduled to open this summer as a 124-room boutique-style hotel at the corner of Main and Harrison streets.
-The Ashberry project will be home to the corporate headquarters of STAR Financial Bank, and the $43 million development will provide commercial and retail space and public parking.
Recently completed projects:
-Promenade Park opened in 2019 as the first phase of riverfront development.
-The $35 million redevelopment of The Landing offers housing and commercial and retail spaces.
Projects in the works:
-Design details, construction documents, and bidding for phase two of riverfront development will be completed this year with construction anticipated in 2022. There will also be more public space to complement Promenade Park.
-The Lofts at Headwaters Park will begin later this year. The $67 million project will feature apartments, a parking garage, and office and retail space next to Club Soda.
-An MOU is in place for a development on the North River site. It’s a proposal exceeding $150 million and calls for a professional soccer stadium, fieldhouse, event center, and hotel. Restaurants, residential, office and public spaces as well as parking are included.