New developers, investor recharge Electric Works project

Local News

\FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Two months after the city’s Redevelopment Commission pulled the plug on public funding for Electric Works, the project has been reignited.

Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry on Tuesday announced that The Model Group has joined RTM Ventures as a co-developer for the project, and local businessman Tim Ash of Ash Brokerage has become an investor and general partner.

The tentative agreement will move the Electric Works project forward.

“I’m so encouraged that The Model Group and Tim Ash are joining this partnership to help bring Electric Works to fruition,” said Henry. “Moving forward, our collective focus is for a successful redevelopment project that protects taxpayers and is viable now and in the future. It’s also vital to have Do it Best as the anchor tenant and corporate partner with good jobs in our community as part of the efforts to redevelop the former GE campus.”

Just last week, WANE 15 broke the story that equity firm Ambassador Enterprises expressed interest in working with the city in saving the project. The city, however, has only served as a funding partner and does not own the campus.

After the Redevelopment Commission canceled the Economic Development Agreement that would have provided more than $60 million in public funds to the project, several members of Fort Wayne City Council announced an investigation into the decision. The vote on the investigation was tabled after several Summit City businesses leaders met with Mayor Tom Henry.

The new agreement must still be approved by local governing bodies, officials said. The city hopes to have final approval before the end of the year.

Cincinnati-based The Model Group was the developer behind the renovation of The Landing in downtown Fort Wayne. Bobby Maly, CEO of Model Group, said Electric Works will be another opportunity to transform a historic district.

“Electric Works presents the rare opportunity to revitalize a vacant and blighted remnant of the past by leveraging the historic buildings to create a mixed-use innovation district that will impact the economy of northeast Indiana,” said Bobby Maly, Chief Executive Officer of Model Group. “We look forward to working with Mayor Henry and to again partner with principals of RTM Ventures in our shared mission to positively transform communities.”

Dan Starr, president and CEO of Do it Best, which was committed as an anchor tenant of the Electric Works project, issued the following statement after Tuesday’s announcement:

We are very encouraged after learning today that the city and developers have reached a tentative agreement to move the Electric Works project forward. We remain committed to the vision of Electric Works and its positive impact on our community.
We are excited by the City of Fort Wayne’s statement regarding their intent to gain the necessary approvals quickly in order to move to closing and begin construction before the end of this year. 
I extend my thanks to Mayor Henry, the RTM team, as well as co-developer The Model Group, Tim Ash and other community business leaders, for their strong commitment to the success of this project.

Dan Starr, Do it Best President and CEO

Another part of Tuesday’s announcement: Sweetwater head Chuck Surack announced plans to create a new headquarters for the Fort Wayne Philharmonic in the former Perfection Bakeries site along Pearl Street in downtown Fort Wayne. Sweetwater bought the property two years ago.

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