Developers eye rentals for nearby students and visiting nurses

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — Yet another application has been submitted to build one-bedroom apartments on the northeast side of Fort Wayne.

Manveer Khatana, of the Hamilton Lake Petroleum Corporation in Hamilton, is proposing to build 36 one-bedroom units on about one acre at Stellhorn and Reed roads.

The site plan indicates there would be one building with 24 units and another with 12 units. Entrances are planned on both Reed and Stellhorn roads, and a dry detention basin at the back of the property for catching rain water. The developer is requesting to change the zoning from single family (R1) to multifamily (R3).

A developer has proposed to build 40 one-bedroom apartments at Lake Avenue and Reed Road on this 1.87 acre site.

In March, Skyler Vendrely, a Huntertown-based developer proposed building 40 one-bedroom units in two 2-story buildings at the corner of Lake Avenue and Reed Road. The 1.87-acre property would need to be rezoned from R1 to R3 zoning.

The Lake and Reed proposal is due to be discussed at the Fort Wayne Plan Commission’s public hearing April 10. The Stellhorn and Reed site plan would be set for May 8.

Attorney Rob Kruger representing this month’s application said it was submitted because of the need for housing for university students – the location is right down the road from Purdue Fort Wayne – and it’s generally close to Parkview Randallia, for traveling nurses.

Those demographics “are being underserved by a lack of one-bedroom apartments,” Kruger said.

He cited a downtown housing study done several years ago that indicated there was a need for one-bedroom and studio apartments downtown as well as a 2021 study by Fort Wayne Community Development demonstrating “there’s a real lack of single-bedroom apartments,” Kruger said.

The plan is to have market rate apartments for any generation. Kruger said the new comprehensive county development plan calls for mixed housing – apartments and single family.

“They don’t want single detached houses as far as the eye can see. The idea is to have a mix with mini neighborhoods,” Kruger said.

Real estate developer John Nichols, owner of the renovated Centlivre apartments near downtown, believes the one-bedroom market is driven by two things: one-bedrooms are smaller units so they are less expensive and “this generation of renters wants to live by themselves.”

“They don’t want a roommate,” Nichols said. Sharing a two-bedroom unit could be less expensive for each renter, “but they typically don’t want a roommate.”

In his buildings where he often rents to athletes like Komet hockey players and Mad Ants basketball players, the three-bedroom units normally take longer to lease, he added.

Renters run the gamut from empty nesters to young professionals and students, he said.