Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry on Wednesday said he fully supports the redevelopment of the former General Electric campus but called for developers to provide a comprehensive financial and tenant plan for the project.
Henry has come under fire as of late for an apparent lack of support of the Electric Works project, a $300 million plan to turn the campus on downtown Fort Wayne’s southwest side into a mixed-use retail, industry, institution and residential area. The mayor reiterated in a press conference Wednesday morning in his Citizens Square office that he continues to support the project that he called “innovative” and “optimistic,” and said he wants it to succeed.
“As Mayor, it’s my duty to ask the difficult questions to ensure our community’s finances remain strong now and in the future,” said Henry. “Raising pertinent questions and possible concerns aren’t indicators that there’s a lack of support from me and my administration. We simply must look out for the best interests of our entire community.
“The City’s recent proposal of $50 million in local funding to go toward the Electric Works initiative demonstrates our willingness to make a substantial investment to assist in the redevelopment of the former GE property.”
Henry said with a project of the size and magnitude of Electric Works, it’s “imperative” for the development team to create a comprehensive and sustainable financial and tenant plan.
Henry said Wednesday that for the past several months, a working group made up of representatives from the City of Fort Wayne, Allen County, the Allen County-Fort Wayne Capital Improvement Board, Greater Fort Wayne Inc., and Electric Works developer RTM Ventures has been working on a number of “due diligence items” to see the project realized.
Henry emphasized everyone and each agency involved in the project recognize a lot of work is ahead, particularly on financials and getting leases signed by tenants.
The city released the following outline of “ongoing and upcoming action days related to the Electric Works project:
- Working with the CIB to secure the market analysis for the project
- Working with the CIB to secure the financial analysis for the project regarding funding streams necessary to support bond financing
- Work with Allen County to secure their financial commitment for the project
- Continue the evaluation of the viability of prospective tenants
- Obtain from RTM Ventures the due diligence items that were previously requested
- After obtaining the due diligence items from RTM Ventures, work will continue with the various boards, public agencies and elected officials to respond to any questions and concerns
- Finalize the development agreement with RTM Ventures, which will confirm their commitments and obligations to the project and the conditions for local funding assistance