Demolition of former police headquarters on hold

Work began on Thursday, March 17 to demolish the Bowser buildings, once used as the Fort Wayne police headquarters.

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE)  The City of Fort Wayne on Friday agreed to halt the demolition of a building located on the southeast side that was once the headquarters of a gas pump company and the Fort Wayne Police Department.

Work to tear down the Bowser buildings located at 1302 Creighton Avenue began Thursday, however city spokesperson John Perlich told NewsChannel 15 early Friday afternoon that the decision was made to halt the process after Mayor Tom Henry met with City Councilman Glynn Hines, representatives from Indiana Landmarks and community activist Donita Mudd.

According to Perlich, the delay will allow Indiana Landmarks, an organization that saves, restores and repurposes historic buildings, to begin a dialogue with the McMillen Foundation, which owns the buildings to discuss the whether Indiana Landmarks might be able to purchase the property or find a developer.

However, Perlich added that it’s the city’s belief that it will be difficult for a buyer to be found since efforts to do so over the past several years have not resulted in any interest due to the conditions of the building and demolition will ultimately be the end result.

However, Paul Hayden with Indiana Landmarks, told NewsChannel 15 that he toured the building and came away impressed with the quality of its condition.  He said many times buildings of historical or architectural significance have severe structural issues such as gaping holes in the roof or ceilings.  Hayden said the building has been pretty well maintained and while it has asbestos and oil tanks on site, those would have to be properly dealt with regardless of whether the structure was razed or rehabbed.  He sees potential for it as a mixed use facility possibly with housing on the upper floors and classrooms or small retail spaces on lower floors.

The McMillen Foundation had planned to hand over the property for use by the YMCA of Greater Fort Wayne.