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Developer calls off plans for Union Chapel complex

Plans to build a multimillion-dollar shopping center complex near a north-side neighborhood are scrapped.

Residents’ protests likely played a role in developers of The Center at Union Chapel calling the project off Thursday.

Attorney Thomas Trent told the Allen County Plan Commission during a public hearing that Fort Wayne developer Tom Rayl and his associates have decided not to move forward with a mixed-used complex that was to include up to 164,000 square feet in retail, a four-story ho­tel, apartment complex, fit­­ness center and restaurant over 42 acres.

Questions surrounding the project in May resulted in the public hearing being postponed until Thursday – the second time since April that Rayl asked for more time to discuss the center with residents and Parkview Health.

Rayl said traffic from Park­view was important to his project’s success.

The Center at Union Chap­el, however, coincided with Providence Place, a $40 million shopping center also slated for the area. In June, Dr. Greg Sassmannshausen got approval from county com­mis­sioners to begin the re­tail development, which will span 76,000 square feet south of Union Chapel Road and east of Diebold Road.

Sassmannshausen dealt with neighbors fretting over traffic, crime, property values, noise, lighting and exces­sive signage. He was credited with working with neighbors and received a letter of support from Parkview Health.

An estimated 600 residents signed petitions opposing Providence Place and The Center at Union Chapel.

On Thursday, Rayl said he preferred not to discuss what’s next for him and his partners.

“We worked with the peo­ple in the neighborhood, too,” he said, referring to how Sassmannshausen was giv­en credit for making concessions. “Whatever we did, it was never enough.”

Sassmannshausen wants to build an open-air retail mall to rival Jefferson Pointe. A construction date has not been set.

A staff report from the Department of Planning Services in Allen County called both shopping centers “the first intensive commercial de­vel­opments near the new (Union Chapel Road and Interstate 69) interchange.”

pwyche@jg.netPlans to build a multimillion-dollar shopping center complex near a north side neighborhood are scrapped.

Residents’ protests likely played a role in developers of The Center at Union Chapel calling the project off Thursday.

Attorney Thomas Trent told the Allen County Plan Commission during a public hearing that Fort Wayne developer Tom Rayl and his associates have decided not to move forward with a mixed-used complex that was to include up to 164,000 square feet in retail, a four-story hotel, apartment complex, fitness center and restaurant over 42 acres.

Questions surrounding the project in May resulted in the public hearing being postponed until Thursday – the second time since April that Rayl asked for more time to discuss the center with residents and Parkview Health.

Rayl said traffic from Parkview was important to his project’s success.

The Center at Union Chapel, however, coincided with Providence Place, a $40 million shopping center also slated for the area. In June, Dr. Greg Sassmannshausen got approval from county commissioners to begin the retail development, which will span 76,000 square feet on the south side of Union Chapel Road and on the east side of Diebold Road.

Sassmannshausen dealt with concerned neighbors fretting over traffic, crime, property values, noise, lighting and excessive signage. He was credited with working with neighbors and received a letter of support from Parkview Health.

An estimated 600 residents signed petitions opposing Providence Place and The Center at Union Chapel.

On Thursday, Rayl said he preferred not to discuss what’s next for him and his partners.

“We worked with the people in the neighborhood, too,” he said, referring to how Sassmannshausen was given credit for making concessions. “Whatever we did, it was never enough.”

Sassmannshausen wants to build an open-air retail mall to rival Jefferson Pointe. A construction date hasn’t been set.

A staff report from the Department of Planning Services in Allen County called both shopping centers “the first intensive commercial developments near the new (Union Chapel Road and Interstate 69) interchange.”

pwyche@jg.net

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