Council approves abatement on Brightpoint project

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Neighbors aren’t the only ones divided over Brightpoint’s proposed project at the old Taylor University dorms along West Rudisill Boulevard. City council approved the land for a tax abatement, but with the minimum votes needed.

Brightpoint has its eyes on developing the old dorms into Enterprise Pointe. The area would become a housing and entrepreneur area for artists or small businesses. Housing would include a total of 48 one-, two-, and three-bedroom apartments. Tenants would be allowed to use half of their space for their business or work.

Click here to read more about the project and why neighbors are split on it being built in their part of town.

Only five councilmen voted in favor of approving the abatement, with Geoff Paddock and Mitch Harper voting no. Councilmen John Shoaff and Glynn Hines abstained from voting.

“The next round on this will be for the Plan Commission meeting next Monday, and my feeling is it’s not appropriate for us to move forward on any aspect of this project until the Plan Commission has made their decision,” Paddock said, who attended Monday’s Plan Commission meeting.

Paddock added that he supports what Brightpoint is trying to do, but it is too early to know if conditions are in place to make sure the project will not hurt the area long-term.

Shoaff said he chose not to vote because he serves on the Plan Commission and did not want his vote as a councilman to be perceived as how he would vote as a member of the Plan Commission.

Hines said he did not vote because he works for Brightpoint.

Council originally decided to table a decision – which Shoaff suggested, until Councilman Marty Bender reminded his peers that Brightpoint needed a decision on a tax abatement to help its chances landing more than $7 million in tax credits from the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority.

“We understand that we are requesting an abatement without proper zoning in place and that’s counter to typical procedure,” Greg Majewski, the community economic development manager at Brightpoint, said to council. “The timeline we’re up against is July 1. Our application for special allocation of Section 42 low-income housing tax credits is due to IHCDA by July 1. We need everything in place at that point. We did apply and receive a waiver for evidence of proper zoning and we have until August 1 to provide that. However, we do not have a waiver for the tax abatement portion.”

The Plan Commission is scheduled to vote on rezoning the land Monday night. City council will hold a public hearing on the tax abatement Tuesday, June 23 at 5:30 p.m. during its regularly scheduled meeting.

“If we didn’t do what we did tonight, I understand there were some tax credits that are essential for the financing of the project,” said Councilman John Crawford. “If they don’t get those in place by July 1, then even if the other things happen, this might scuttle the project. What we did makes it possible that it might happen, but it doesn’t mean it definitely will.”

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