FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) Electric Works has secured interest and letters of intent from potential tenants that would cover 114,200 square feet of space in the redeveloped campus in downtown Fort Wayne, developers announced Tuesday.
In a news release, Electric Works representatives said they had closed nearly 50 percent of the project’s pre-leasing goal as of Tuesday. What’s more, of the more than 100 local and regional retail and office tenant prospects Electric Works development group RTM Ventures has engaged with, nearly 90 percent have planned a new venture or an expansion at Electric Works, the release said.
Those commitment are on top of letters of intent already signed by Fort Wayne Community Schools, which has planned a STEM school on the campus, and the Fort Wayne Public Market.
“It’s clear the marketplace is responding to our vision for Electric Works and is inspired by its potential,” said Jeff Kingsbury of Electric Works. “Local support and investment, however, is the crucial next step in converting these letters of intent into binding lease agreements – and will enable us to take our vision for Electric Works to a regional and national audience.”
Andrew Thomas, board chair for Greater Fort Wayne, said the interest from prospective tenants means potential for growth in the Fort Wayne job market. As Fort Wayne City Council is set to consider whether to financially support the $300 million project, Thomas urged the body to get behind it.
“We know that there’s substantial interest from potential Electric Works tenants. We have had in-depth conversations with companies that are interested in 70,000 to 80,000 square feet of office and lab space to house 150-plus employees,” said Thomas. “These employers would bring high-paying jobs and are specifically looking for a work campus with the amenities and collaborative environment proposed at Electric Works.
“However, as responsible executives, before they will fully commit to leasing space, businesses need to see assurances that the project will be completed,” Thomas continued. “The state and federal governments have offered their support. City Council and other local support is the critical push that will move the needle from ‘interested’ to ‘committed.’ The Electric Works campus would give Fort Wayne a competitive advantage for talent attraction and retention. We cannot squander this opportunity to repurpose what is now a liability to our community into an asset that Fort Wayne can build upon for years to come.”
Electric Works officials said a 2017 economic impact study on the project by Novogradac & Co. certified public accountants estimated the phase 1 project to generate at least $100 million in local tax revenues over its first 20 years. In addition, the project is expected to create more than 2,000 construction and related jobs during its development and support a total of 2,800-plus jobs during its operation. It’s also expected to generate nearly $400 million in annual economic impact once operational.
“Electric Works presents a huge opportunity for Fort Wayne and Northeast Indiana; we are receiving considerable national media interest around Electric Works, and we have seen the positive impact similar projects have had in other communities,” said John Sampson, president and CEO of the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership. “Extensive evidence shows the transformational potential a project like Electric Works can have on businesses, talent and neighborhoods, and the rewards for a community are substantial.”