The Journal Gazette
Tuesday, April 28, 2020 1:00 am

Do it Best stands by decision to relocate

Dan Starr

We believe Electric Works is an absolutely vital project for northeast Indiana, as well as a tremendous opportunity for Do it Best.

It presents a bold vision to bring needed jobs, leading-edge innovation and top talent to our part of the state. And what a thrill for us as a leading home improvement company to play a big role in the state's largest renovation project, one that will not only revitalize the former GE campus, but contribute significantly to the surrounding neighborhoods.

Do it Best partnered with Electric Works earlier this year because we need to strengthen our ability to retain and attract the best talent to the area to move our business forward. Like other employers, we have ambitious plans for growth and it's essential we have the appropriate space, environment and talent pool to do so. We believe Electric Works provides that opportunity not just for us, but for many other leading companies in Fort Wayne.

The vision for Electric Works is compelling. The site has a tremendous history and legacy and we are excited about the reality of a vibrant mixed-use campus with office, education, retail and residential space. We believe this will attract the type of talent that will benefit everyone.

We were encouraged by the initial support we received from local and state government, business leaders and area residents as we announced just a few weeks ago our intent to be the anchor tenant. This excitement has inspired significant progress on the development of our new space, and we have been working diligently with our architects on office design.

In parallel, we are working actively with the development team on our lease. Our resource investment in both time and money has been substantial, and we have been encouraged by the momentum that the project now has with our involvement.

Unfortunately, just a couple of weeks after our announcement, our nation was plunged into difficulty from the COVID-19 pandemic. The events of the past five weeks are unprecedented.

Our entire economy and financial markets have been heavily affected as much of the country has been idled. This has had an obvious impact on the ability to close this deal as we all expected at our announcement event in February.

While we don't have unlimited patience, we do understand that it's going to take some persistence and perseverance to get this deal done. But this is a deal worth doing.

Electric Works is a game changer not only for the city but for all of northeast Indiana.

Our community will benefit from all the parties working together to find a practical way to make this vision a reality.

Dan Starr is president and CEO of Do it Best Corp.

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