FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) Officials with General Electric have informed the City of Fort Wayne of plans to demolish an office building located on the east side of Broadway near McCulloch Park. The building is part of the GE campus which closed for good in 2014.
According to a news release issued by Matt Conkrite of GE, the building was gutted last year because of extensive water and mold damage on the inside. The cleaning process made it necessary to speed up the timetable for demolition which is expected to begin in the next few weeks. According to Conkrite, the work will take about four weeks to complete and there may be the need for temporary lane closures on Broadway to allow for the use of heavy equipment.
GE has not yet determined the fate of the other buildings on the campus, including the massive former manufacturing plant on the west side of Broadway. The company is in discussions with Fort Wayne officials to determine the future of the property. The building being torn down was built in 1911. Some buildings on the GE campus were there in the 1880s.
Upon learning of the demolition plans, Mayor Tom Henry issued the following statement:
We appreciate GE’s openness and willingness to work with us as we come together to determine how to best utilize a large area of land in an important corridor in our City. I’m encouraged that we’re in position to work collaboratively with GE to develop a viable plan for the property as we invest in the future and build on the momentum we’re experiencing in our community.
In 2014, ARCH, an organization dedicated to the preservation of historic buildings, included the GE campus in its “most endangered” list. Executive Director Mike Galbraith wants to save the GE campus and turn it into housing or business space. He’s disappointed with GE’s decision to demolish the building.
“I think the city of Fort Wayne can be more forceful in stepping up and saying, ‘We really value this complex and believe in the possibilities of revitalizing the Broadway corridor.’ I know that they’re spending money to redo a plan for the Broadway corridor. And I know that they’re spending lots of money here in Fort Wayne to redevelop the downtown. I think the city of Fort Wayne is missing an opportunity here,” Galbraith said. “I hope that they’re working incredibly hard to work with GE to save those buildings, not just manage the demolition.”
General Electric has had a long history in Fort Wayne dating back to 1893 when it purchased the Jenny Electric Company. At one point more than 10,000 people were employed in Fort Wayne. Products manufactured here ranged from transformers to electric motors and even superchargers for military aircraft among other things.