City Council to consider financial support of Electric Works

Fort Wayne City Councilman Geoff Paddock speaks at a news conference Friday, Feb. 23, 2018, outlining a resolution to assist with funding the Electric Works development.

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) Fort Wayne City Council next week will consider whether to financially support the $300 million Electric Works project in downtown Fort Wayne.

Councilmen John Crawford and Geoff Paddock on Friday outlined a resolution they will introduce at the council’s meeting on Tuesday. The commitment, as explained by Crawford and Paddock, essentially “signals a willingness to discuss” requests for funding for the Electric Works redevelopment down the line.

City Council must approve such a deal because the Electric Works developers cannot approach lenders for loans without an agreement for a local match.

The former General Electric campus will become Electric Works in redevelopment.

“Electric Works is a truly special project that can rejuvenate a distressed area of the community,” said Paddock, who represents the city’s 5th District where the former General Electric campus sits. “We have the opportunity here, in working with RTM Ventures, to redevelop over 30 acres of vacant buildings into prime real estate, adding vitality and jobs into the neighborhood and strengthening Fort Wayne’s downtown core.”

Developers plan for Electric Works to transform into a mixed-use “innovation district,” with more than 1.2 million square feet of available space for office, institutional, retail and restaurant use, along with residential area. In the resolution up for consideration, Crawford and Paddock said Electric Works will inject $100 million into Fort Wayne’s economy.

To get there, the project will take a combination of private and public funding, though.

Crawford and Paddock said City Council will have to consider in the future:

  • A $6 million loan out of the Legacy Fund
  • A grant from the Legacy Fund of just more than $7.5 million
  • $500,000 annually from 2020-2026 from Fort Wayne CEDIT revenues
  • $3 million from the Legacy Fund to be used as debt reserve for a bond
  • Consideration of a lease purchase agreement as a property tax backer
  • The possibility of a bond issuance from the purchase of roads
  • The possibility of a $6 million TIF bond

All told, Crawford and Paddock said the city’s support of the project will pay off in the end.

“Electric Works has been granted $50 million in Industrial Revenue Tax Credits, the largest ever allocation granted by the IEDC.” said Crawford. “They are currently working on Historic Tax Credits and New Market Tax Credits from the federal government. A local match in funding is needed to receive all of these other public sources and secure additional private funding.”

The Indiana Economic Development Corporation has awarded a $50 million Industrial Recovery Tax Credit to the project, its largest ever such tax credit. Electric Works is also available for another $50 million in federal historic preservation tax credits.