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The Journal Gazette

Wednesday, March 16, 2016 7:14 am

Cityscape Flats agreement OK'd

Dave Gong The Journal Gazette

Fort Wayne’s newest downtown residential development endeavor took a step forward Monday, clearing the final bureaucratic hurdle necessary for construction to begin.

The Fort Wayne Redevelopment Commission on Monday approved a development agreement with Domo Development LLC for the Cityscape Flats apartment complex located directly west of Parkview Field. 

Domo Development, which was founded in 2012, previously developed the Steeplechase at Parkview apartment complex on Sportsman Park Lane.

One of the principal shareholders in Domo Development is Eric Doden, the former head of the Indiana Economic Development Corp. Doden recently was named as the new CEO of Greater Fort Wayne Inc. 

"This is pure economic development," Justin Brugger, the city’s redevelopment director, said of Cityscape Flats. "We know the millennial generation desires this kind of housing, they desire walkability."

Under the agreement, $3.5â ¯million in tax increment financing will pay for the public improvements associated with the project, including the parking garage and streetscape improvements.

Half of the TIF dollars will be paid out this year, and half will be paid in 2016, contingent upon Domo reaching certain developmental milestones, Brugger said. 

"We feel it offers protection for the Fort Wayne taxpayers â ¦ in the unlikely event that Domo would be unable to perform," he said. 

Brugger pointed out that if the company began construction and defaulted for any reason, the city would be able to buy back the property for the construction costs to date, minus all of the public incentives that would have been provided, and turn the site over to another developer. 

Domo Development also plans to ask the City Council to approve a $3.5 million tax abatement for the project.

Domo’s agreement with the city is contingent upon whether the council approves the firm’s abatement request, Brugger said. 

In addition to the $7 million in public funds and tax abatements, $20 million for the project is being financed by Ash Brokerage CEO Tim Ash, who has a major role in the downtown Ash Skyline Plaza project. 

Cityscape Flats, which Brugger described as a "modern living opportunity in downtown Fort Wayne," will feature a 143,000-square-foot residential development comprising about 163 living units: five studio apartments, 118 one-bedroom apartments and 40 two-bedroom apartments. The units will be grouped in three- and four-story apartment buildings.

The average apartment size will be about 900 square feet, Brugger said. 

The development will also include 14 row-house town homes on the north side of Brackenridge Street, facing south. Those 1,600-square-foot two- and three-bedroom, two-bath homes will each have an attached two-car garage accessible from the back, he said. 

Construction is slated to begin in July, and completion is expected to take no longer than two years. 

Domo officials also appeared before the city Plan Commission on Monday during a public hearing. The proposed apartments received no negative feedback, only positive remarks from a few neighbors who attended the meeting.

City planners did say that Cityscape’s large size would require waivers, including one for the northwest portion of a building that exceeds the 20-foot maximum front yard setback along Fairfield Avenue.

dgong@jg.net

Paul Wyche of The Journal Gazette contributed to this story.