The Fort Wayne Capital Improvement Board at its April 25 meeting approved moving back the deadline for Electric Works’ developer to meet milestones to keep money that the CIB committed to the Fort Wayne Redevelopment Commission for the project.
The developer, RTM Ventures, now has a closing date with the city of Nov. 30. After that, it can begin construction.
The amendment to the Electric Works resolution allows RTM Ventures to keep the $45 million in bond support that CIB conditionally approved.
RTM Ventures previously had agreed to a June 30 deadline for securing signed leases for at least 250,000 square feet of space at Electric Works.
In addition to the $45 million in bonds, $10 million has been allocated from the city’s Legacy Fund, $3.5 million each from both Fort Wayne and Allen County income taxes, and $3 million in loans from the CIB and the county for remediation efforts.
However, a partial shutdown of the federal government that lasted more than a month delayed the developer’s access to staff at the National Parks Service to help it acquire $45 million in tax credits that it counted on for the project. And some potential tenants want to see all its funding in place before committing to it.
“The Federal shutdown earlier this year affected the Interior and Treasury departments, which oversee the Historic Tax Credit and New Markets Tax Credit programs respectively,” Jeff Kingsbury, managing principal of Greenstreet Ltd., one of the project representatives at CIB’s meeting, said in an email responding to questions about the summer deadline ahead of the amendment decision.
That Indianapolis firm, along with Decatur-based Biggs Development and Baltimore-based Cross Street Partners, make up RTM Ventures.
“These programs will bring about $45 million of equity investment into Electric Works and Fort Wayne. The delays at the federal level affect the project closing and construction schedule,” Kingsbury said.
The $250 million public-private partnership project will redevelop the west side of the former General Electric complex at 1030 Swinney Ave. off Broadway to create more than 1.2 million square feet of space for office, educational, innovation, retail, residential and entertainment uses.
So far, RTM Ventures has letters of intent for 119,700 square feet, Kingsbury said after the CIB meeting.
With both the city and county sharing in the cost of the project, “It’s in our collected interest to make sure this is a solid project,” Nancy Townsend, redevelopment director, told the CIB before its vote. “…It won’t close until we’re 100% confident.”
Kingsbury said after the meeting, “This is a very complex project as we all know. It’s a tremendous community and economic development initiative. So this is just following the process with the city administration, the redevelopment, the Capital Improvement Board, going through the process. We’re thankful for their support and continuing to advance the project.
“We have been in communication with the city about these issues, which allowed us to work together on a revised timeline for the economic development agreement. And, we appreciate the cooperation and support of the mayor, Redevelopment Commission, and the CIB,” Kingsburgy said in his email.
Plans call for apartments and retail space that will include a public market/food hall with food growing at the site and 90,000 square feet of innovation space.
Eventually redeveloping both sides of the Broadway complex will cost $440 million.
On-site environmental remediation work of asbestos and lead-based pain that started in November should be completed by June, and about 95% of demolition work is completed, the board was told.
Some of the businesses and organizations that have announced plans for an Electric Works presence include Parkview Health, Fort Wayne Metals, Indiana University Research and Technology Corp., Medical Informatics Engineering, Indiana Tech and Fort Wayne Community Schools.
Some companies are new to Indiana and others are expanding, Kingsbury said. The developer has been working closely with local economic development groups to get the word out about the project and business opportunities in Fort Wayne, with announcements yet to be made public on other commitments that have already been made, he said.