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Thursday, October 03, 2019 3:04 pm

Electric Works developers request deadline extensions

DAVE GONG | The Journal Gazette

Key deadlines in the economic development agreement between the city of Fort Wayne and the developers of the $248 million Electric Works project could be extended once again. 

The proposal, which was requested by RTM Ventures – the firm developing the site – sets new leasing and private financing deadlines at Feb. 1 for financing commitments and April 30 for final closing on the transaction. The original deadlines set in 2018 have been revised several times and were most recently set at Nov. 1. 

In August, the developers said Electric Works still needed to raise between $20 million and $30 million in private capital. Public entities in the city and county have pledged $65 million for the project. In late September, RTM Ventures announced it had secured more than 250,000 square feet in pre-leasing commitments at the former General Electric campus. About 160,000 square feet of that space is going to tenants new to Allen County, RTM Ventures' Jeff Kingsbury said at the time. 

Mayor Tom Henry said Thursday supports the change to the economic development agreement, which needs to be ratified by the Fort Wayne Redevelopment Commission, the Allen County Fort Wayne Capital Improvement Board and the Allen County commissioners. 

"Successful public-private partnerships can be complex and take time. They're critical to advancing our community and region as a point of destination for job and business growth, strong neighborhoods and attractive quality of life amenities," Henry said in a statement. "I want to see Electric Works happen and succeed and positive progress is being made. The public financing bodies involved in this project are committed and engaged partners with the Electric Works development team as the process continues to move forward." 

Greater Fort Wayne Inc. also supports the move, John Urbahns, the organization's president and CEO said in a statement. 

"We're excited to see progress continuing on Electric Works and we support the mayor's proposed extension to the economic development agreement. With a project of this magnitude and potential impact, adjustments to the project timeline are to be expected," Urbahns said. "We appreciate the leadership that the mayor, county commissioners, city council and Capital Improvement Board have shown by providing the local incentive package to the project and are confident that the project team – including the developers, brokers and all local funding partners – will be able to work together to make Electric Works a reality for this community." 

John Sampson, CEO and president of the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership agreed. 

"The success of Electric Works will be transformational for our region. The city of Fort Wayne and communities all across northeast Indiana are experiencing incredible momentum and with the continued progress of the project, that momentum will continue to grow," Sampson said in a statement. "The sheer size and complexity of this project have required sustained leadership, collaboration and flexibility by Mayor Henry, the city of Fort Wayne, RTM Ventures and numerous local partners to assure the long-term success of the project." 

The Redevelopment Commission will consider approval of the change at its Oct. 7 meeting. 

dgong@jg.net