The Journal Gazette
Wednesday, December 30, 2020 1:00 am

Electric Works deal nearly done

Parties tout $280 million mixed-use project at GE site

SHERRY SLATER | The Journal Gazette

The team developing Electric Works and the project's financial backers will pick up their pens Thursday for the second day of document signings to close the $280 million deal.

Participating parties completed the first round Monday. The third, and final, signing session will be Jan. 7, which meets the deadline for tapping those specific sources of capital, the developers said.

Every document that needs to be signed by year end will be, they added.

RTM Ventures, the development partnership, has ridden a virtual roller coaster in its effort to make Electric Works a reality. City officials' reluctance to back the developers resulted in some delays even before the COVID-19 pandemic caused others.

But the addition of local business leader Tim Ash and Cincinnati redevelopment firm The Model Group to the project in October calmed city officials' concerns about RTM partners' perceived lack of experience and funding. As a result, the city and the developers struck a new economic development deal.

The deal's complexity and multiple funding sources made it necessary to stretch the closing over three days, RTM partner Jeff Kingsbury said.

“There are over 100 people in Fort Wayne, Indianapolis, and around the country working tirelessly through the holidays to bring this complex deal to a successful financial closing,” he said Tuesday in a statement. “We remain grateful to our public and private sector partners for their continued support – and to everyone working so hard – to bring over $200 million of critical, direct investment to Fort Wayne and northeast Indiana over the next two years and employing thousands during construction, which we will begin in January.”

The Allen County Board of Commissioners late last week wired the $3.5 million promised to the developers, county officials said Tuesday in a news release. The money was in addition to $1 million the county provided in 2018 for remediation work at the former General Electric campus.

John Perlich, Mayor Tom Henry's spokesman, confirmed the city also is participating in the closing.

“Everything is set on the city of Fort Wayne's commitment,” Perlich said in a statement. “The $62 million pursuant to the economic development agreement should be complete (Tuesday or early today). We're encouraged that the closing process is progressing, and we look forward to the successes of the Electric Works development.”

The three county commissioners also released a joint statement, which cited their excitement about seeing Electric Works become a reality.

“This project will have a sizable economic impact during construction and will help lead us to our fifth straight year of $1 billion in construction projects in Allen County,” they said. “We are glad to see business retention and expansion taking place, in addition to the new companies and jobs coming to our community.”

The developers' vision for Electric Works is a mixed-use innovation district with office, education, research, retail and community areas including the Do it Best headquarters, a public market and food hall, flexible innovation space for growing companies, a Parkview health clinic and indoor and outdoor public space.

The first phase includes 730,000 square feet of space on 12 acres along the west side of Broadway just south of downtown.

Future phases, on the east side of Broadway, are expected to include residential space, a hotel and commercial tenants. Financial details and a timeline for that work haven't been determined.

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