FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) Electric Works, the mixed-use redevelopment venture at the old General Electric campus, will turn the lights on for the first time in years this holiday season.
Electric Works will join the Christmas on Broadway celebration with a holiday themed light display of its own, as several buildings of the sprawling campus off Broadway will be lit Nov. 17. The event will feature a mini block-party style celebration with a pop-up public plaza in the street at Swinney and Broadway, in front of the former G.E. Club.
There will be outdoor games, music and a photo booth. Food and beer will be available for sale. It will be the first public event at Electric Works.
In May, a development group announced plans to invest $300 million to transform the vacated and dilapidated former GE campus into a mixed-use “innovation district.” The 31-acre campus will feature commercial, retail and market, residential, hotel and community space, along with a tract for a university.
Shortly after Kevan Biggs and his group closed on the campus, he had an idea. “We thought the next step is fully engaging the community and how we can do that in a meaningful way that will really create some excitement.”
Steve Shine and his law partner Tom Hardin started the party in 1998 as a way to celebrate the homes and businesses of the Broadway Corridor. “It really revitalizes and uplifts the residents who are within this area knowing that the community focuses on them for the holiday season, for some part, and to show how special the Broadway Corridor is to the city of Fort Wayne,” Shine said.
Shine said the first go at it attracted about 150 people and last year almost 4,000 were there. The 40 foot spruce tree lights up with 30,000 lights while fireworks light the sky.
This year, Electric Works will light the 5 story building off Broadway shortly after. ”I couldn’t be more pleased with something that is as important to the community, perhaps a seismic change of the Broadway Corridor. Having the developers ask Shine and Hardin to be part of the Christmas on Broadway event was one of the highest compliments we have ever seen.”
Biggs said he is very thankful to join Christmas on Broadway. He thinks giving the community an close look at the campus is crucial. “There’s a whole other element of excitement that occurs when people actually see it firsthand for themselves.”
Shine said he hopes more businesses join every year. It’s all a celebration while people enjoy the prospect of development. “Come out and have fun. Bring the kids, it’s going to be really family friendly. It should be a great night,” Biggs said.