The Journal Gazette
Tuesday, February 11, 2020 1:00 am

Panel OKs more time for Works

Redevelopment first of 3 needed to approve extension

DAVE GONG | For The Journal Gazette

One down, two to go.

In a 3-2 vote Monday, the Fort Wayne Redevelopment Commission approved deadline extensions for the Electric Works project south of downtown. 

The amendment to the economic development agreement with RTM Ventures, the firm developing Electric Works, sets a funding deadline of April 30 and a final closing date of June 30. The previous funding deadline was Feb. 1.

It is the third such extension for the $230 million mixed-use project that would include education, innovation, office, residential, retail and entertainment spaces on the former General Electric campus.

“This amendment does not change any other term of the economic development agreement and these dates that are proposed in the agreement reflect the request from (RTM Ventures),” Redevelopment Director Nancy Townsend told the commission. 

The Redevelopment Commission is the first of three entities that need to approve the extension. The Allen County Fort Wayne Capital Improvement Board and the Allen County commissioners have yet to sign off on the request. 

The Redevelopment Commission's vote comes just days before RTM Ventures is set to announce the identity of an anchor tenant expected to lease more than 200,000 square feet of the 1.2 million-square-foot development, a critical step in securing necessary loans.

The firm plans to make its announcement at 2:30 p.m. Thursday. 

Redevelopment Commission members Nathan Hartman and City Councilman Jason Arp voted against the extension, noting they believed the vote was premature, given that RTM Ventures plans to announce its major tenant this week.

Arp proposed tabling the extension request until the tenant is revealed, but that motion failed in a 3-2 vote. 

Despite some speculation, the identity of the tenant is not yet known. When Hartman asked Townsend and Attorney Jon Bomberger for “any additional information on the type of business that would be the anchor tenant,” both declined to comment.

Townsend cited a nondisclosure agreement. 

“The developer of Electric Works has been making progress. I guess I would suggest to you the merits of this extension don't rely entirely exclusively on this potential anchor tenant,” Townsend said. “That's certainly a great piece of information for the community (and) the project potentially, but I guess I want to emphasize they are and have been making progress.”

Arp also asked about the project's economic development agreement, wondering whether the document stipulated that a certain percentage of the project's business tenants must come from outside Allen County. 

“It doesn't say they have to be all outside of Allen County,” Bomberger replied. “I believe the condition says that it has to either be businesses that are new to Allen County or business that expand in Allen County.”

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