What’s next for properties ‘for sale’ along West Jefferson Blvd?

Peter Franklin Jewelers wants to build three commercial buildings on the south side of Jefferson, but residents there say the 38,000 square foot project will lower their quality of life.

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE)- New retail development is planned for a section of land along West Jefferson Boulevard. City Council approved a rezoning that would allow Peter Franklin Jewelers to build there. It has some people worried about what this would mean for the other properties for sale in that area.

Most of West Jefferson has been zoned for residential or limited commercial use, like doctor’s offices or law firms.

Councilman Tom Freistroffer (R-at-large) is concerned more retailers will want to rezone other portions of West Jefferson in an effort to build there. He said that would create traffic congestion in an already heavily traveled area.

“What is that going to look like in 5 or 10 years?” said Freistroffer. “It’s more than just a plot of land where Franklin was coming in. It had to do with an entire corridor.”

Peter Franklin Jewelers would build in the 4900 and 5000 blocks between Jefferson Pointe and Time Corners on the south side of the road. There are a number of other properties for sale there, too.

David Nugent, a Partner at BND Commercial, has a property for sale just west of the lot that Peter Franklin Jewelers plans to buy. Nugent has worked in commercial real estate for 20 years.

“Part of the homework we do is to consider what can be the possible best use for that area,” he said.

Nugent was surprised by city council’s vote but says it doesn’t necessarily change his strategy for selling properties in the area.

“This does not kick the door in,” he said. “This does not create some flood of new retail. I don’t think that you’re going to see new strip centers that have a Subway and a Starbucks. I think that is a long way off, if ever.”

Nugent said will likely see more professional offices continue to build in the area.

The planning commission recommended the city vote against moving forward with the project. Councilman Freistroffer is a member of the Plan Commission and wanted the Department of Planning Services to do a study of the road before moving forward with rezoning the area from residential to commercial.