FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — Eight co-developers proposed a transformational $1.5 billion series of projects for Fort Wayne’s north riverfront properties that would include an arena, soccer stadium, natatorium and more, covering more than 60 acres from Sherman Blvd. to Science Central.
The city owns some of the proposed sites, including the 6.4 acres on Harrison St. that housed the former Pepsi bottling plant.
In a release ahead of Monday’s announcement, developers checked off a list of items they say would attract more than 1.5 million visitors and users annually to downtown Fort Wayne:
- 5,000-seat multi-use arena and event venue
- 5,000-seat outdoor soccer stadium with connected boutique hotel
- Natatorium with Olympic-size swimming pool
- Additional athletic fields and basketball courts for youth sports and public use
- An E-sports venue
- “The Wedge” mixed-use development
- Mixed-use high-rise building with attached structure parking
- Multi-generational residential village that will house people of all ages and abilities
- Expanded, accessible riverwalk spaces
“The City of Fort Wayne Administration is aware of the proposal that’s been made by Domo Development. The project will be reviewed, along with eight other proposals that have been brought forward by other development teams to possibly invest along the riverfront,” the mayor’s office said in a statement to WANE 15. “The City’s immediate focus is on the construction of Riverfront Phase IIb Public Open Space that started last month and will take the next 24 months to complete. We continue to be encouraged by the ongoing popularity of our riverfront development efforts and the successful public-private partnerships we’ve experienced to date.”
A spokesperson for the Fort Wayne Football Club said Monday, “The team has no information on this proposal for a soccer stadium” and to her knowledge, the team has not had any discussion with Doden and his partners.
She said it’s still the team’s goal to have a soccer stadium one day.
“Fort Wayne has gone from unranked as recently as 2015 to 34th best place to live in the U.S. in
2023,” developer (and Indiana gubernatorial candidate) Eric Doden said in a statement. “We believe this bold riverfront plan would significantly increase our recognition as an outstanding place to live, work and play.”
Two years ago, Doden made a smaller, but similar pitch for Riverfront Phase III but the city was just starting Phase II and not prepared to pivot. The city had asked for Requests for Qualifications (RFQ) for the Pepsi project, which Monday’s announcement seemed to blow past.
“Responding only to the City’s RFQ for the Pepsi property would have missed a once-in-a-generation opportunity to come together around a comprehensive project that accelerates Fort Wayne’s pursuit to be known as the one of the best communities in America,” Doden said in the statement.
This new, larger effort is being led by Doden’s DOMO Development with most of the other partners either based or with previous partnerships in Fort Wayne and Allen County:
- Brown Capital Group
- Card & Associates
- Cityscape Residential
- DOMO Development Company
- Grove Holdings
- MKM Architecture
- Thompson Thrift
- Weigand Construction
In September, Card & Associates made headlines with the announcement of its sports complex in partnership with the city of New Haven.
“Youth sports have proven to be great drivers of tourism, outside spending and tax revenue
for communities. Fort Wayne has the capacity, the potential and the ambition to establish
itself as a true regional hub for youth sports and family entertainment,” Andy Card,
founder and CEO of Card & Associates, said in a statement.