GE ‘getting close’ to sale of Fort Wayne campus

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) General Electric is close to striking a deal on the sale of its long-vacant Fort Wayne campus, a company spokesman confirmed Tuesday.

GE's Fort Wayne campus (John McGauley)
GE’s Fort Wayne campus (John McGauley)

Matt Conkrite told NewsChannel 15 that GE is “getting close” to completing negotiations with a buyer for its 31-acre campus on the southwest corner of downtown Fort Wayne. Who that potential buyer is, what they’ve offered for the run-down property or what they have planned for its future, Conkrite did not say. He did say GE considered several proposals.

GE announced in May that it would offer for sale and potential reuse and redevelopment the sprawling dozen-building campus off Broadway where it produced a wide range of products including electric motors and superchargers since 1911. Since the company announced in January 2014 plans shut down operations in Fort Wayne, the site became dilapidated and largely an eye sore.

Over the last year, a task force made up of concerned citizens and community leaders met to brainstorm ways to recover the campus, to reuse the buildings instead of tearing them down.

It appears that vision could soon become a reality.

Conkrite could not provide a timeline for that reality to come about. He warned that the nature of negotiations is that a snag could come about anytime, which would prolong the process.

Conkrite reiterated the company is “continuing to make progress” in the deal.

Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry’s office released the following statement:

“We’re appreciative of GE’s commitment to moving forward to explore future development opportunities. We’re optimistic a viable plan will be developed for the site that will complement the momentum and investments we’re currently experiencing in Fort Wayne.”

Fort Wayne Councilman Geoff Paddock (D-5) led a GE Campus Coalition where community members gathered to voice their opinions on what they’d like to see go on at the site. They decided they want to rehabilitate the buildings for mix-use spaces. They’d like to see commercial, retail and housing go up.

“The message I heard loud and clear is let’s not abandon this, let’s not let it go by way of the wrecking ball,” Paddock said. “The architecture is too iconic, the history is too important.”