A plot of land along the 7700 block of Southtown Crossing has sat empty for years. Part of it will soon see some development as a Taco Bell will be opening in that area. Taco Bell could not say when the restaurant is expected to open.
The Taco Bell will be opening in an area that has not seen new construction since 2012, according to the Fort Wayne Department of Planning Services. The department said the last time new construction happened there was in 2012 when the Auto Zone opened there.
This Taco Bell is not the first new business to come into the area this year. Planet Fitness and a self-storage facility opened there this year as well.
This comes as Fort Wayne City Council is making an effort to revitalize the area. Tuesday night, Council passed an ordinance that declares that area an “Economic Revitalization Area.” That lowers taxes in the area to give businesses an incentive to build there.
“There’s a lot of stuff that’s needed that citizens have to drive across town to get,” said sixth district City Councilman Glynn Hines, who represents that area on City Council. “So, if we’re able to get developers, investors to invest southeast, it helps the quality of life for those residents who live there. Plus, they don’t have to burn up so much gas driving all over the city to get those services.”
Some people in the area said they are excited about business like a Taco Bell building there, but they are looking for more.
“There’s not really much to do around here,” said Merce Burney, who lives in the area.”There’s a Wendy’s or a McDonald’s. There’s liquor stores, gas stations, but there’s not a Target, Starbucks or something fun to do like a skating rink or something”
Burney also said Taco Bell is not the long-term solution to revitalizing the area.
“I don’t really think Taco Bell is going to make a huge difference,” Burney said. “I feel like Taco Bell could be found anywhere. maybe something nicer like a Starbucks, but Taco Bell…It’s a start, but it’s not the best.”
Others in the area agree saying that “something nicer” could be an Applebee’s or something that would give people more things to do and unify the north and south sides of Fort Wayne.
“I would like to see an Applebee’s or maybe even another Y down here to bring the community together,” said Andres Burney who also lives in the area. “It seems like a lot of people are separated from North and South. This can bring us together. I would also like to see more kid places, more things for kids and families to do.”
Councilman Glynn Hines said there are more development projects going on on the Southeast side of the city. He told WANE 15 News to expect a “major announcement” by November.