Council’s Arp critical of new development terms

Local News

Fort Wayne, Ind. (WANE) – A Fort Wayne city councilman calls the economics of two new development projects “predictably bad.”

Fourth District Republican Jason Arp writes on the Indiana Policy Review website that the terms of the leases are “non-economical, ludicrously so.”

“Who, for example, would spend the equivalent of $220 a month to lease a space for which they intend to get revenue equivalent to $65 per month? The Fort Wayne Redevelopment Commission, that’s who.”

Jason Arp, Indiana Policy Review, 2/18/2020

The projects are the two multi-use buildings along the river: the Lofts at Headwaters Park and Riverfront at Promenade Park. Both include parking garages with groundbreaking scheduled for later this year. Both have been planned by Indianapolis developers Barrett and Stokely

Arp contends by overpaying for the parking spaces, the city will lose about $2 million each year for the next 25 years.

He writes that “no private commercial property owner would rent space for more than three times what they expect to receive in revenue.”

As you might suspect, the city’s redevelopment leader disagrees.

In a statement to WANE 15, Nancy Townsend, Redevelopment Director, writes:

“Communities across the country invest in parking as part of economic development strategies to attract and retain businesses and residents, as well as support the convention and tourism industry. The construction of the parking garages associated with both of these high-quality projects is essential to the continued success of downtown and the Riverfront District. The demand for parking generated by festivals, events, employment, new residences, and new projects has created an immediate and critical need for parking. The Redevelopment Commission’s ability to partner with the private sector enables the City to achieve the benefit of additional public parking while adding to the vibrancy and activity that will continue to generate growth downtown for generations to come.”

Nancy Townsend, Redevelopment Director

Arp tells WANE 15 the money could be better spent.

“I thought the way the financing was done through the city was a little bit disingenuous,” Arp says.

“We were paying basically three times as much as we should for the garages in order to subsidize the total package. I don’t think the public understands that this is a $50 million hit. Now, that’s a lot of money that could be spent for things like sewer.”

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