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City has dibs on more land near Parkview Field

FORT WAYNE – The block of vacant lots and rental homes next to Parkview Field could soon be city-owned and earmarked for downtown residential development.

The Fort Wayne Redevelopment Commission voted unanimously Monday to authorize staff to get appraisals on the properties, which the state law requires before purchase.

Redevelopment Director Greg Leatherman said the commission already has options on all but one of the properties it is pursuing, giving the city the sole right to buy them until July 1.

The block, bordered by Fairfield and Ewing streets on the east and west and Jefferson Boulevard and Brackenridge Street on the north and south, covers about four acres.

About 1.2 acres is already owned by the city, purchased as a staging area for construction of The Harrison. The city is not interested in the Shell gas station at Jefferson and Fairfield, Leatherman said, and it is in final negotiations to buy the auto-repair shop at Jefferson and Ewing.

The remaining properties cover about 2.7 acres, officials said, and the prices negotiated total about $1.8 million.

Leatherman said the idea is to create a nearly four-acre site prime for development, especially residential development. A study said there is demand for that and officials say that is needed to spur yet more development downtown.

Because the money will come from the TIF district and the commission has authority to purchase land, Leatherman said, no City Council approval is needed for the project.

For more on this story, see Tuesday's print edition of The Journal Gazette or visit after 3 a.m. Tuesday.