Electric Works development team denied $23 million funding request

Local News

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) A request by the project development team for Electric Works to secure $23 million in funding has been denied.

RTM Ventures had made the request for the funding for the project which involves the former GE campus just south of downtown. The mixed use development has received commitments from over a dozen potential tenants.

Monday morning a letter was sent to RTM Ventures from the Fort Wayne Redevelopment Commission indicating that local funding partners would not be able to accommodate $23 million funding request. The local funding partners include the City of Fort Wayne, Fort Wayne Redevelopment Commission, Allen County Fort Wayne Capital Improvement Board of Managers and the Allen County Commissioners.

In a release to the media, the following explanation was given:

The local public funding partners highlighted several areas of concern regarding the request, including the Capital Improvement Board of Managers cannot enter into the requested financial arrangement due to statutory operating limitations, the request represents a change to the current economic development agreement that would require additional changes and approvals, and the request represents a shift in risk to public funding sources.

City of Fort Wayne

RTM wasn’t looking for more money, just a part of the money they were already promised if they were to satisfy all requirements by February 1, 2020.

The Fort Wayne Redevelopment Commission said giving the $23 million would put them and the local funding partners in a “position of risk that wasn’t tolerable.”

RTM said they asked the Capital Improvement Board to act as a guarantor on a loan from a private investment firm in case the project did not materialize. Attaining that $23 million was the quickest way the development team saw to getting to closing and the start of construction.

City of Fort Wayne Redevelopment Director Nancy Townsend said the local funding partners preferred to keep to their current deal with RTM, in which they’d give the developer 65 million dollars in local public funding only after RTM got all their private funding by February 1, 2020. They won’t be giving RTM any advanced money.

“The amount of money they requested from day one is the amount of money, that collectively with our partners, we approved,” Townsend explained. “We have had three amendments to the development agreement already. When they ask for a request or a proposal we sit down and we talk about it and we thoroughly review those and if it’s something that we can do and achieve as a community I would fully expect that we would continue to do it. But this was just a situation again that put the public funds in a position of risk that we [couldn’t accept].”

Townsend fully expects RTM to be able to get the $23 million dollars from elsewhere.

So RTM has until Feb. 1 to meet their leasing goals and financial commitments and until April 30 to close.

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