FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — The developer behind the Electric Works mixed-use innovation district in Fort Wayne says a new agreement will be critical to finally getting the project off the ground. RTM Ventures and Mayor Tom Henry on Tuesday detailed renewed plans for the redevelopment of the former General Electric campus, including the addition of Cincinnati-based The Model Group as a co-developer and Ash Brokerage Chief Executive Officer Tim Ash as an investor and general partner.
The development team hopes to finalize and close on a new economic development agreement with city officials by the end of the year.
“We’ve got a lot of work to do between now and closing at the end of the year and so bringing on The Model Group, which has done deals in Fort Wayne, really helps us expand our capacity to do that,” said Jeff Kingsbury, partner with RTM Ventures. “And then the addition of Tim Ash, who’s a local investor with a very long and distinguished track record of investing and committing to downtown Fort Wayne, having him part of our development team is also critical.”
The future of the Electric Works project had been in doubt for some after the Fort Wayne Redevelopment Commission terminated the previous economic development agreement, which had been extended numerous times in order for RTM Ventures to secure the necessary private financing.
RTM Ventures says it has secured $215 million in private funding for the $280 million first phase of the project, which will span 12 acres and 730,000 square feet of space. Fort Wayne-based Do It Best Corp. will anchor the development and CEO Dan Starr expressed his support for the new deal after it was announced on Tuesday:
We are very encouraged after learning today that the city and developers have reached a tentative agreement to move the Electric Works project forward. We remain committed to the vision of Electric Works and its positive impact on our community.
We are excited by the City of Fort Wayne’s statement regarding their intent to gain the necessary approvals quickly in order to move to closing and begin construction before the end of this year.
I extend my thanks to Mayor Henry, the RTM team, as well as co-developer The Model Group, Tim Ash and other community business leaders, for their strong commitment to the success of this project.
Kingsbury says despite the uncertainty surrounding Electric Works, the Fort Wayne community has always been a strong supporter of the project.
“It’s really not a surprise because this is fundamentally the community’s vision; we’re really just the stewards to help bring it to life,” said Kingsbury. “And so really from the business community, the public at large, the grassroots neighborhood groups and organizations to the state of Indiana and elected and public officials, there’s just been a tremendous amount of support and so we were happy to just be able to over the last couple of weeks put an agreement together that allows the project to move forward.”
The revised economic development agreement must still be finalized and then approved by various local governing bodies before closing on the public financing can be completed.
Kingsbury says environmental remediation work has been ongoing at the former GE site. Once the EDA closes, he says construction will begin on the first phase of the project.