The Journal Gazette
Tuesday, December 04, 2018 1:00 am

'Fast-food block' may still be sold

But arena near Grand Wayne not in city-county plans


The Allen County Fort Wayne Capital Improvement Board hasn't abandoned the idea of buying the block containing three fast-food restaurants just west of Grand Wayne Center – but this time, there's no arena in sight.

The board has listed as an agenda item considering a purchase authorization for the properties during its meeting Thursday.

Bart Shaw, executive director of Grand Wayne, said the authorization resolution was still being developed Monday and could not be released. He said the board could decide to pull it from the agenda or not take a vote Thursday.

But board member Don Steininger confirmed the board is looking at buying the two properties – one that contains King Gyros and Rally's, and the other Taco Bell – on the north side of the 300 block of West Jefferson Boulevard.

The land was considered as the site of a proposed downtown arena until the plan was shelved in late 2017.

However, the board in April approved borrowing $17 million through a bond issue to add floors to the Civic Center Garage. Some of those funds could be used to buy the properties, commonly known as the “fast-food block,” board members said at the time.

Steininger said this resolution “has nothing to do with an arena.”

“No, absolutely not,” he said. “That is not part of the discussion. ... We are simply acquiring it for future use.” 

That use could be for parking or future expansion of Grand Wayne, according to public discussions by the board this year. Board members then expressed concern that the facility is landlocked, with no physical space to grow.

Summit Development Corp. has an option to buy the land for about $6 million. The option must be exercised by Dec. 31, with the purchase finished by June 2019, board members said in April.

Summit Development Corp.'s principals are Karl I. Bandemer, president; Nancy Townsend, vice president; and Greg Leatherman, secretary and agent.

Bandemer serves Fort Wayne as deputy mayor; Leatherman retired as director of community development this year; and Townsend is director of redevelopment and executive director of the redevelopment commission.

Steininger said Monday he could not disclose a purchase price.

One of the functions of the CIB is “to buy and hold real estate for future use,” he said.

“We have no plan for it. The Grand Wayne right now is really landlocked, and we're buying it for protection (from other potential buyers) and give us some breathing room,” he said.

The CIB will meet at 8:30 a.m. in Grand Wayne Center near the general manager's office.

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