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Rendering courtesy city of Fort Wayne

Verbatim: $71 million downtown project would take up an entire block

Rendering courtesy city of Fort Wayne
Rendering courtesy city of Fort Wayne

Statement as issued Monday afternoon by the city of Fort Wayne:

Fort Wayne, Ind. – Highlighting the key role of downtown vitality to job creation and regional economic growth, Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry today was joined by Tim Ash, President and CEO, Ash Brokerage Corporation and Bill Bean, VP, Hanning & Bean Enterprises, Inc., along with Eric Doden, President, Indiana Economic Development Corporation, elected officials and community leaders to announce plans for Ash Brokerage's new national headquarters in the heart of Fort Wayne and a downtown residential development led by Hanning & Bean Enterprises.

The integrated initiative will result in new knowledge-based jobs, hundreds of construction jobs, housing, retail, and $71 million in new investment in the core of the city. The new developments would be bordered by Wayne, Harrison, Berry, and Webster streets and utilize nearly a full square block.

The City of Fort Wayne has signed a memorandum of understanding with Ash Brokerage and Hanning & Bean Enterprises for the two major projects.

Ash Brokerage plans to build its corporate headquarters in downtown with 95,000 square feet of office space. The project would also include a parking garage and 21,600 square feet of first-floor retail space. More than 200 employees would be part of Ash's move to downtown. Ash also anticipates increasing its local workforce with 115 additional jobs by 2017. The average wage is $60,000 plus benefits. Ash's investment would be $19.6 million.

"At Ash Brokerage, we're all about creating opportunity for our partners, our employees and our communities," said Tim Ash, Ash Brokerage President & CEO. "We believe in Fort Wayne, and our decision to build our national headquarters downtown is a grand slam for all of us. We're creating and retaining great jobs right here in a growing industry sector. We're bringing private investment into the heart of our hometown. We flipped the switch for more business, housing and retail options through our partnership with Hanning & Bean, the City of Fort Wayne and the State of Indiana. And best of all, we're sending a mighty signal that this is an outstanding place to do business – a wonderful place to live, work and play."

Hanning & Bean Enterprises plans to construct a residential development, including apartments, condominiums, and street-front townhouses. The development would total 80 apartments (94,000 square feet), 10-14 condominiums (26,000 square feet), and six street-front townhouses (13,500 square feet). There would also be a rooftop park/green space on top of the parking garage. Hanning & Bean's investment would be $32 million.

"We're in a great environment for growth and redevelopment in downtown," said Bill Bean, VP, Hanning & Bean Enterprises. "We've been investing for some time in downtown and see this project as an opportunity to continue that commitment. Housing units are a key ingredient in providing the three main components of a vibrant downtown – live, work and play. We look forward to partnering with Ash Brokerage, the City of Fort Wayne and the State of Indiana. This initiative demonstrates our commitment to revitalizing the city's skyline and continuing to invest in downtown."

"We're seeing unprecedented positive momentum in downtown. The heart of our City has become a destination place for business growth, housing, and entertainment," said Mayor Henry. "Ash Brokerage and Hanning & Bean Enterprises are demonstrating a strong commitment to our community with this substantial investment. Proactive efforts to attract opportunities to downtown have positioned us for success."

The total public-private partnerships would result in $51.6 million in private dollars and $19.5 million being invested by the City of Fort Wayne. It's anticipated construction would begin in March 2014 and take nearly two years to complete.

The City would provide an incentive package to the development that consists of land acquisition, site preparation, tax abatement and participation in the construction and operation of the parking garage.

Commitments by Ash and Hanning & Bean complement the City's Downtown Blueprint and BlueprintPLUS plans to have a thriving downtown with a corporate headquarters, housing, retail, and entertainment.

These projects would serve a growing downtown that includes recent success stories such as Parkview Field, The Harrison, Courtyard by Marriott, the Anthony Wayne Condominiums, and the Randall Lofts.

In addition, Greater Fort Wayne Inc. and the Downtown Trust have been integral partners in bringing the new developments to downtown.

A timeline for necessary approvals from the Fort Wayne Redevelopment Commission and Fort Wayne City Council will be finalized in the coming weeks.

Send items for The Scoop to jgnews@jg.net.

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