Electric Works developers to present on future of project

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – It’s been four months since a group of developers closed the deal on the old General Electric campus. Now RTM Ventures wants to share its vision for the future.

The group is set to present more detailed plans on the renovated multi-use facility now known as Electric Works at a special city council meeting Tuesday.

Kevan Biggs, an RTM Ventures partner, said it will be a great opportunity. One of the aspects he plans on focusing on is the financial side of things.

“We really want them to understand the capital stack, the funding sources, and how we’re able to leverage such an enormous amount of federal and state funds to this community,” Biggs said.

The $300 million project is a shared venture between the private sector and the public sector. The developers, the city, the county, and the state are all playing a role in the massive redevelopment project.

The Capitol Improvement Board and Allen County commissioners recently approved $3 million to go toward cleanup in and around the facility.

That funding came just after the State of Indiana approved $50 million in tax credits for the project.

Now developers are working to see what federal funds they can access to help offset costs.

The 39-acre campus is located in Councilman Geoff Paddock’s district. He said he’s excited to hear what the group has to share at Tuesday’s presentation.

“This particular meeting I think will not only give the developers an opportunity to talk about their vision, but residents who live around the area to come by as well, and anyone who is interested in speaking on this would have an opportunity as well,” Paddock said.

Community input and public opinion have come to the forefront of the project as it will likely impact the community in some big ways.

Councilman Paddock said the financial impact could be particularly significant.

“This campus is probably paying $1.5 million to $2 million a year in property taxes, and that could skyrocket with the kind of retail presence, and of course residential value,” Paddock explained.

Once completed, the multi-use facility will host a wide variety of spaces:

  • 224,000 square feet of office space
  • 113,000 square feet of institutional / education space
  • 83,000 square feet for retail / restaurants and a food hall
  • 83,000 square feet of dedicated innovation space / facilities
  • 82,000 square feet of residential space

Indiana Tech was one of the first organizations to sign up to lease space at Electric Works. The school announced in December it plans on leasing 10,000 square feet of space in building 19.

The potential financial impact of added retail and residential space has also caught the eye of an area leadership organization. The Young Leaders of Northeast Indiana, or YLNI, has taken a particular interest in the project.

Pone Vongphachanh, Vice President of Community Impact for YLNI, said her group is especially interested in the young talent it could bring to the area.

“We believe with the strategies that they’re putting into place, it will help attract and retain talent as well, which is an initiative that we’re passionate about and continue to work on,” Vongphachanh said.

The group plans on conducting a survey with its members and the community as a whole about the project to try and gauge public opinion and interest.

Vongphachanh said she thinks it could serve as an important tool for city leaders while making future decisions about the project.

“Our council members do come to us and ask us about these questions and about these projects,” she explained. “So having that data to back up why we’re supporting an issue, or not supporting an issue is very important.”

Biggs said his development partners are also excited to hear thoughts from the public at Tuesday’s meeting.

“It is absolutely critical to get the community feedback of what they want because what we can bring as the development team is the framework,” Biggs said. “But it’s just the framework. You gotta fill in those details with really the local flavor and the initiatives of what’s important here to Fort Wayne.”

You can learn more about the future of the project and make your voice heard at the meeting Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. at Citizens Square.