Updated: Monday, 14 Feb 2011, 11:30 PM EST
Published : Monday, 14 Feb 2011, 9:08 AM EST
FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) - Three business tenants and apartment plans for The Harrison were announced during a press conference at the Grand Wayne Center Monday afternoon.
Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry and the developer Barry Real Estate announced that The Harrison is expected to be built by next summer, with a May 1, 2011 groundbreaking.
“We have great news today,” said Mayor Henry. “The Harrison is a ‘go.’” And with that news, our vision to bring new retail and residential options into the heart of the city is coming to life. Though the times have been tough, the wait has been worth it. My dedication to building a more vibrant downtown is about making Fort Wayne and northeast Indiana more attractive to the good jobs, talented workers and business development that we need to grow. Barry Real Estate’s private investment and the decisions of the tenants and the development team are a validation of our collective work to strengthen Fort Wayne and create a more competitive region.”
“I am so pleased that we are able to be here today, ready to go, with our development team and our tenants. Thank you, Mayor Henry, a lesser city might have given up on us,” noted Barry Real Estate CEO Chris Schoen. “With great partners and the support of the people of Fort Wayne, we finally have in place the pieces we needed to fulfill our vision for The Harrison and for Harrison Square."
Some of the business tenants to lease space in The Harrison include Carson Boxberger Attorneys , Three Rivers Credit Union and O'Reilly's Irish Bar . Retail space is expected to be at the street level, with commercial business on the second.
“Carson Boxberger and downtown Fort Wayne have been a fit for 65 years,” stated Bruce Boxberger, partner in Carson Boxberger, The Harrison’s major new commercial tenant. “The timing was perfect. The Harrison makes it possible for our firm to grow, gives us an entire floor and the flexible space we need and reaffirms our commitment to the city center. We believe that The Harrison makes a strong statement about the importance of a lively downtown to our city’s and our region’s economic vitality.”
“3Rivers has always had a deep affinity with our membership and the communities we serve,” observed Jeff Meyer, President/CEO at 3Rivers. “We’re very excited about the opportunity to finally have a chance to showcase why we value these relationships and how we build them in our revitalized downtown. We’ve been waiting for the right time and place to let the Fort Wayne community experience some of our best kept secrets for serving others. We think The Harrison is the location to help make that happen, and we’re proud to be a supporter of Fort Wayne’s future.”
"We are excited to be a part of what will undoubtedly become the premier destination spot for the wonderful people of Fort Wayne,” declared Keith Reilly, who along with his business partner, Joel Reitz, are owners of O’Reilly’s. “O'Reilly's Irish Bar is only as good as our friends who visit us and that is why we are opening in Fort Wayne. We look forward to becoming fast friends with the people of Fort Wayne."
The project will cost about $18 million and be financed in part by PNC Bank.
The Harrison will also include 42 apartments. "Bringing more housing downtown is absolutely critical to the long term strategy," said John Stafford, director of IPFW's Community Research Institute. "That might be the most important thing is this project now continues the momentum."
Barry Real Estate CEO Chris Schoen, said two additional lower level tenants are needed to completely fill the bottom floors. He would still like some type of a workout facility to be a part of the project as well a " Scotty's Brewhouse. " Scotty's owner, Scott Wise, told NewsChannel 15 on Monday that he has no interest in Fort Wayne at this time, and he if he does change his mind he will likely build outside of downtown.
The city's redevelopment commission placed the stamp of approval on the project Monday evening. As a sign of good business, city leaders voted to return $70,000 in penalty money to Barry Real Estate.
Harrison Square was supposed to be done in 2009, but Barry Real Estate had trouble getting financing for The Harrison, which is the last leg of the Harrison Square project.
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