Statement as issued Monday by the city of Fort Wayne:
Mayor Tom Henry and Chris Schoen, CEO of Barry Real Estate Companies, today revealed new details about plans for The Harrison, the long-awaited residential, retail and commercial component of Harrison Square. The festivities at the Grand Wayne Center overlooking the project site also introduced new tenants of The Harrison and brought together members of its local development team.
The Harrison is the final piece of Harrison Square, the signature private-public initiative, announced late in 2006. Marking the occasion along with the Mayor and its principal developer were elected officials, downtown supporters and business, community and neighborhood leaders.
“We have great news today,” said Mayor Henry. “The Harrison is a ‘go.’” And with that news, our vision to bring new retail and residential options into the heart of the city is coming to life. Though the times have been tough, the wait has been worth it. My dedication to building a more vibrant downtown is about making Fort Wayne and northeast Indiana more attractive to the good jobs, talented workers and business development that we need to grow. Barry Real Estate’s private investment and the decisions of the tenants and the development team are a validation of our collective work to strengthen Fort Wayne and create a more competitive region.”
“I am so pleased that we are able to be here today, ready to go, with our development team and our tenants. Thank you, Mayor Henry, a lesser city might have given up on us,” noted Schoen. “With great partners and the support of the people of Fort Wayne, we finally have in place the pieces we needed to fulfill our vision for The Harrison and for Harrison Square."
The four-story, mixed-used building on the corner of Jefferson Boulevard and Ewing Street will offer retail space at street level, commercial space on the second floor and 40-plus market-rate apartments on the upper two floors. With 100,000 square feet of rentable space in all, The Harrison represents a desirable new address and a stylish addition to the downtown skyline.
Three businesses have executed leases and will become the first tenants of The Harrison, including:
• Carson Boxberger, LLP, a longstanding downtown law firm recommitting to the city center, 24,000 square feet of space;
• 3Rivers Federal Credit Union, a regional financial-services provider bringing its distinct relationship-based brand into the downtown area, 3,800 square feet of space; and
• O’Reilly’s Irish Bar, an Indianapolis-based establishment new to northeast Indiana, 4,000 square feet of space.
“Carson Boxberger and downtown Fort Wayne have been a fit for 65 years,” stated Bruce Boxberger, partner in Carson Boxberger, The Harrison’s major new commercial tenant. “The timing was perfect. The Harrison makes it possible for our firm to grow, gives us an entire floor and the flexible space we need and reaffirms our commitment to the city center. We believe that The Harrison makes a strong statement about the importance of a lively downtown to our city’s and our region’s economic vitality.”
“3Rivers has always had a deep affinity with our membership and the communities we serve,” observed Jeff Meyer, President/CEO at 3Rivers. “We’re very excited about the opportunity to finally have a chance to showcase why we value these relationships and how we build them in our revitalized downtown. We’ve been waiting for the right time and place to let the Fort Wayne community experience some of our best kept secrets for serving others. We think The Harrison is the location to help make that happen, and we’re proud to be a supporter of Fort Wayne’s future.”
"We are excited to be a part of what will undoubtedly become the premier destination spot for the wonderful people of Fort Wayne,” declared Keith Reilly, who along with his business partner, Joel Reitz, are owners of O’Reilly’s. “O’Reilly’s Irish Bar is only as good as our friends who visit us and that is why we are opening in Fort Wayne. We look forward to becoming fast friends with the people of Fort Wayne."
With Barry Real Estate in the primary role, the other members of The Harrison’s development team were also detailed, as follows:
• PNC, the lead bank in supplying financing for the project;
• A prominent Fort Wayne investor, quietly contributing private equity to the project;
• Design Collaborative, a local, downtown architectural and engineering firm serving as the designer for the building; and
• Hagerman Construction Corporation, a nearly century-old Fort Wayne construction company acting as the general contractor for the project.
The $18 million project, well more than the $14.5 million investment required by the City of Fort Wayne for this component of Harrison Square, will be financed in part by a loan from PNC. While the composition of the funding package has not yet been finalized, Mayor Henry was heartened by the willingness of local financial institutions such as Tower Bank and 3Rivers to step forward and participate if needed.
“It is with deep roots and a sense of belonging to the community that we are extremely excited to be an active team player in the management and construction of The Harrison,” said Mark Hagerman, CEO of The Hagerman Group. “As a staple of Fort Wayne, The Hagerman Group shares in the excitement and the commerce that the entire Harrison Square project has brought to the city. It will be a magnificent opportunity to be involved in the final touches with the groundbreaking, construction and ribbon cutting for The Harrison.”
“The staff of the Design Collaborative live, work and play in downtown Fort Wayne every day,” said Ron Dick, architect and founding partner of The Harrison’s architectural firm. “It is a thrill to help realize a dream, to help complete Harrison Square and to enrich our community.”
The new plans for The Harrison and its financing package will be presented to the Fort Wayne Redevelopment Commission in a 4:30 p.m. meeting later today. Final approvals must be given by the commission for development to proceed.
Pending a positive outcome with the commission, construction preparations would begin immediately. Actual work on the site would be anticipated to start as soon as the weather permits. The estimated target for The Harrison’s completion is approximately 15 months from the start of construction.
Envisioned as a catalyst project, Harrison Square has already demonstrated its ability to galvanize economic activity. A recent scorecard of impact encompasses these entries: Over 400,000 people coming downtown for TinCaps games and events at Parkview Field annually; a record year for activities at Headwaters Park, festivals and events; a flourishing cultural district; businesses investing; restaurants expanding their hours; a new Courtyard by Marriott hotel that opened last August; and significant growth in the number and size of convention wins.
The Harrison and Harrison Square are the results of the community’s decision over a decade ago that an energized downtown was a cornerstone of its overall economic development efforts and a measure of Fort Wayne’s pride, vitality and potential for investment. The ideas behind Harrison Square emerged from community dialogue, planning and recommendations developed through several downtown planning initiatives that were guided by citizen input.