City not interested in riverfront land going to auction

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – A 30-acre site along the Maumee River will head to auction next month. The riverfront property will sell in six sections, but the City of Fort Wayne will not become the next owner.

On Thursday, September 10, the Steffen Group, Inc. will sell the River City Complex at a public auction. The land is located just south and east of the Coombs Street Bridge on the city’s east side.

Buyers can buy any one, any combination, or all of the six available tracts. “Those are current parcels recognized by the city,” Steffen Group vice president Josh Lewis told NewsChannel 15.

Lewis said the land is currently owned by Dave and Suzanne Anglin who purchased the first parcel in 1984, and bought the other land over the past 30 years.

“The owners saw the land as development for downtown rivers,” Lewis said. “Their reason for selling is they’re getting to retire now and they’d like to see the new owners continue their vision and make this neat riverfront property.”

City leaders have made a big push in 2015 to develop the city’s rivers, but the land that’s becoming available is not the city’s focus to start development.

“This area was not part of the riverfront study that was recently completed,” said city spokesperson John Perlich. “Our efforts have been focused on the St. Marys River as part of our riverfront development plans.

“At this time, the City does not have plants to make an offer for the property.”

Lewis said the property includes several industrial buildings, two commercial buildings, River City Sand Volleyball Courts, and a unique home that overlooks the river.

Wayne Oil Tank and Pump Company started operations on the property, and one of the original buildings still stands today on one of the parcels.

In the 1990s, one of the old Wayne Oil buildings was turned into the River City Bar and Grill, which had years of success and brought in large crowds on the weekends.

Today, the area is probably best known as the home for Fair Play Volleyball, which has five sand courts on the property.

Mike Harvey runs the courts and hopes the new owners will allow his business to stay open.

“We’ve drawn 301 teams in the first season,” said Harvey. “I would that that would be something to build on. We probably have the largest adult volleyball league in any connecting state.

“We’re in an area close to downtown and we seem like a great location for recreation.”

Lewis said it made sense for the land owners to sell the land through a public auction because of their unique location and because the auction company could get the word out to potential buyers.

‘The different tracts make for competition,” Lewis said.

Steffen Group will hold open inspections for the public at two different times, they are:

  • Thursday, August 20 – 5 to 7 p.m.
  • Wednesday, August 26 – 5 to 7 p.m.

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