By Linda Lippfirstname.lastname@example.org
An inventory of the structures and environmental conditions at the former General Electric campus in downtown Fort Wayne turned up “nothing we haven’t seen before,” said Jeff Kingsbury, of Indianapolis-based Greenstreet Ltd., one of the partners on the massive redevelopment project.
The redevelopment team, led by Baltimore-based Cross Street Partners, worked with GE and had a number of meetings with the Indiana Department of Environmental Management to assess conditions both above and below ground at the site, which has been used for manufacturing since 1883. It also brought in local architecture and engineering firms and a consultant to do more detailed analysis of the buildings and what is needed to stabilize and repurpose them.
“There’s been a lot to understand,” Kingsbury said.
The findings are helping the development team budget for the project and determine what uses may be restricted on certain parts of the campus. The team also was planning to meet Monday with Indiana Landmarks as part of its effort to obtain National Register of Historic Places status, which will open the door to other sources of funding.
Kingsbury said the redevelopment plan would preserve 90 percent of the structures on the campus; and those that will be torn down are some metal buildings and other non-historic additions that add nothing to its historic value.
RTM Ventures, as the partnership planning to redevelop the site is called, closed on the purchase of the property Sept. 21. The purchase was $5.5 million, but the entire redevelopment of the site is expected to total about $400 million, Kingsbury said.
The first phase will focus on the $220 million redevelopment of the property on the west side of Broadway, with the east side to follow.
The developers also have received expressions of interest from potential future tenants, Kingsbury said, and they expect to sign some pre-leases in the fourth quarter of this year that will help determine how some of the buildings are redeveloped. Decatur-based Biggs Development is one of the local partners involved in the effort. Weigand Construction was selected as project manager.
The 32-acre campus with 17 buildings totaling 1.2 million square feet of space has been renamed Electric Works. It will be redeveloped as a mixed-use, place-based innovation district, including commercial, retail/market, institutional, residential, hotel and community space. Potential funding for the project includes private equity, bank loans, New Market Tax Credits, federal tax credits and government incentives.