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All Around Downtown: A New Perspective

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) - 2018 has been a peak year for development downtown and more projects are in the works.

Ruth's Chris Steakhouse is now officially part of the downtown dining scene. 

Ruoff Home Mortgage's CEO unveiled plans for a potential downtown headquarters to NewsChannel 15. Work could begin in the coming months.

The groundbreaking for the Hampton Inn and Suites, is expected to happen at the end of May or beginning of June. It will rise just outside Parkview Field at Jefferson Blvd. and Webster St.

At the end of Summer, a groundbreaking is also expected for boutique hotel at Harrison St. and Main St. 

More future projects have been revealed to NewsChannel 15. 

The 200 block of West Berry Street is transforming. Sitting in an important location along the Harrison Street corridor, the old Metro building, built in the 1970's, is getting a $25 million dollar facelift. 

"When Tim Ash and I looked down from his office after we finished his project, you could just see this was very tired... the windows the concrete, just needed to be restored," Brad Sturges, the president of CBRE Sturges explained. "We put together a nice, economical plan to replace the window system and totally restore the outside of the building. "

202 Metro is home to CBRE Sturges development team, who actually works inside one of their many projects happening around town. They are renovating several floors of the building into new office space. The ground floor will house a downsized Fifth Third Bank branch, leaving room for two restaurants. Details for those still being worked out.

What is really impressive about the project is the condos. The top two floors of the building have been gutted. The space will be developed into high price homes.

"They're going to be really nice," Sturges added. "There's 10 condos on the 7th and 8th floor, total between the two floors. We've got five of them sold and hoping to increase that in the next week or so."

There are big plans beyond the Metro building. Sturges confirmed to NewsChannel 15 that another new building could rise downtown. This multi-story building would neighbor 202 Metro, replacing a couple of smaller buildings between Berry and Main. 

"This corridor along Harrison Street is going to be an active hub of office, retail and residential for a long time," Sturges added.

One business opening soon along the Harrison corridor is Proximo.

The restaurant, created by the owners of The Hoppy Gnome and Baker Street, will fill the space left open by The Golden and The Find in a key spot along the Harrison Corridor at Wayne Street.

"When plans were announced for this building to be here, there was a lot of buzz going around about what could happen in Fort Wayne," Proximo Co-owner James Khan said of the Ash building. "To have the opportunity to be the anchor, corner tenant down here, was really exciting."

While it looked empty over the weekend, marbled tables and carpet will fill the space where new to the market, fine Latin-style cuisine will be offered. Something noteworthy: breakfast will be offered, the place opening at 6:00 a.m.

"There's a lot of need for meeting space and for people to find a time to multi-task, so have a meal and conduct a meeting," Khan explained. "I feel like, more than anything, breakfast will make Proximo stand out. "

These new businesses are signs of the change happening downtown. iI's not all about city-driven projects. It's a combination of commercial, residential, governmental, public and private investments. 

"All of these things kind of stack up and every time that there is a new project that is completed, it makes it a little bit easier for the next folks to come behind,"  Ruoff CEO Mark Music said.

"The growth that's going on right now... I think everybody's got the buzz," Ruth's Chris COO added. "With the baseball team and the convention center and the hotels that are going up around it, this is the time. We really feel confident being here."

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