Proposed Ruoff downtown headquarters reaches key day

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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – A proposed world headquarters for Ruoff Mortgage reached an important day in the development process.

In need of a new space, the Fort Wayne-based company targeted an empty lot near Parkview Field as the new home for office space to house a growing staff.

Shortly after lunchtime Monday, Mayor Tom Henry presented plans for the complex alongside the company’s President and C.E.O., Mark Music. The building has been designed to rise at the southwest corner of Jefferson Blvd. and Ewing St., neighboring Cityscape Flats and a gas station.

The primary development plan includes office space atop a 260-space parking garage. If all approvals are met, work on the $43.5 million investment could start this winter, with work taking up to two years.

A rendering shows what a new headquarters for Ruoff Mortgage downtown could look like. (Courtesy: City of Fort Wayne)

Two key votes happened after the announcement.

A plan approved by the Redevelopment Commission Monday afternoon adds the empty lot to an economic development area – meaning tax income generated in that space goes back to improving that specific area.

One of those improvements could be the construction of a parking garage, one block south at the southeast corner of Ewing and Brackenridge Streets. It could serve as additional space for Ruoff staff members. The current lot has been used for parking for TinCaps games the past 11 seasons and would be expected to include public parking spaces if it is built.

Funding from that economic development area could also help in preparing the land for construction of Ruoff’s headquarters.

An hour after the Redevelopment Commission vote, the company’s primary development plan was approved with conditions by the Plan Commission Monday evening.

The main sticking point for the commission was the request for signage on the buildings. The plan was approved allowing for digital signs on the north and east sides of the building, showing messages to those looking south from Jefferson Boulevard and those looking west from Parkview Field.

Signage on the west side of the building, most seen by those driving east on Jefferson Boulevard can not be digital. Concerns of distracted drivers led commission members to suggest a back-lit sign to be installed on the west side, if the developer wants signage.

A rendering shows what a new headquarters for Ruoff Mortgage downtown could look like. (Courtesy: City of Fort Wayne)

The project now goes to City Council for approval.

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