Surging construction costs for the Lofts at Headwaters Park led Fort Wayne Redevelopment Commission members Tuesday to provide an additional $1.6 million to the project.

The multi-use development at East Superior and South Clinton streets has been languishing since last year as a deep hole in the ground that periodically fills with water.

Meanwhile, construction costs went from about $67 million to $98 million, Jonathan Leist, redevelopment deputy director, told commission members Tuesday.

The higher costs came largely from site remediation, materials and labor, Rex Barrett, executive vice president of developer Barrett & Stokely of Indianapolis, told The Journal Gazette.

“It’s across the board,” he said of the cost increases. “There’s no one area.”

The Lofts is a six-story project that will include 217 apartments, 15 townhouses a 650-vehicle parking garage and 12,000 square feet of commercial/retail space. The site is just south of Headwaters Park’s pavilion.

The commission approved the fourth amendment to the economic development agreement after learning the developer has raised an additional $15 million from investors to help handle the cost increases. The project also received an additional $3 million from the Capital Improvement Board, upping that body’s commitment to $4.4 million. It also has received funding from the Northeast Indiana Regional Development Authority.

Some soil removal and testing remains to be done before construction can start, Barrett said. It’s still unknown whether the site includes contaminants, he said, but any contamination is likely traceable to the site’s industrial and utility uses decades ago. The city has agreed to remove most of the top layer of soil, Leist said.

The $1.6 million will come from tax increment financing, also known as TIF, over three years. Tax increment financing allows the increase in taxes collected after a property is developed to be used for infrastructure serving the project, such as streets and sewers.

Last week, Barrett & Stokely was soliciting public bids for additional work on the property. Public bids are required to obtain Indiana’s Regional Economic Acceleration and Development Initiative funds, also known as READI.

In other business Tuesday, the commission:

• Approved an amendment to the economic development agreement for an industrial shell building at 8645 Aviation Drive to accommodate a client’s request to lease only half of the building for now;

• Agreed to spend no more than $28,000 on a topographical study for the North River property across Clinton Street from Science Central to prepare for planning a street though the property; and

• Authorized an additional $12,000 for an engineering study for the Liberty Mills Trail’s next phase.

Reporter

Reporter Rosa Salter Rodriguez has nearly 50 years of experience at newspapers in Pennsylvania and Indiana. She has worked at The Journal Gazette since 2004, covering medical and health issues and land use and development issues.