FORT WAYNE — A year after a historic downtown Fort Wayne building was lifted off its foundation, it was headed to its final destination, a mere 400 feet away.
Crews from Wolfe House and Building Movers are moving the former Baltes-Cambray Building, circa 1895, across Superior Street to its permanent location on the southeast corner of Superior and Harrison streets Feb. 5. The move was expected to last for four or five hours.
Don Hall’s Restaurants owner Bud Hall salvaged the building, which was scheduled to be demolished to make way for construction of Promenade Park, part of Fort Wayne’s riverfront development. It was moved from its original location at 312 S. Harrison St. across Harrison to the east on Jan. 29, 2018.
Hall’s intends to renovate the building into a modern bar and restaurant, but the restaurant won’t be taking reservations anytime soon.
“It will be awhile,” Hall said, noting the extensive work that lies ahead in securing and remodeling the 124-year-old structure.
When completed, the restaurant will operate on two floors with a patio on the first floor and an elevated deck on the second floor overlooking Promenade Park, he said.
Mayor Tom Henry, who was on site as crews moved the building Feb. 5, shared his excitement about the project.
“What’s really neat is that it’s going to be right across the street from the riverfront. That’s exactly what we’ve been wanting to do is combine public and private partnerships, so I’m really excited about this and I can’t thank Bud enough for making this new venture,” he said.
Allen County deeded the property at 177 W. Superior St. (the building’s final location) to the Fort Wayne Redevelopment Commission and the commission deeded it to Don Hall’s Restaurants.
The cash price for the building itself ended up being just a little over $2,000. That’s because, as it happened, the parks department was interested in some land the Halls had on the north side of the St. Marys River, part of the Fort Wayne Outfitters and Bike Depot property that they own.
Everything had to be appraised, all the legal requirements had to be satisfied, but basically the deal ended up being a fairly even swap of the land for the building, Bud Hall’s son Tim Hall told KPC Media Group in December 2017.
According to historical records at the Allen County Public Library, the building was constructed for the Baltes building supplies company, which was founded in 1861.
For the last several decades it was part of a complex used by Cambray & Associates, and had served as a showroom for an interior design business. The parks department acquired the Cambray property in preparation for the riverfront project.
“There’s something unique about these old buildings. Just look at The Landing,” Hall said. “I don’t know that you could build something like that today. When we clean this building up on the outside and restore it completely, it’s going to be special.”