City and state officials and developers took sledge hammers to a brick wall Tuesday afternoon to symbolize the start of a long-in-coming project to rehab the former Fort Wayne Paper Box Co. into 72 housing units known as Superior Lofts.
Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry joined with Ronda Shrewsbury Weybright, president of RealAmerica Companies and other dignitaries for the ceremonial start of the project, described as a catalyst for the success of the proposed Riverfront park project and the redevelopment of The Landing along Columbia Street.
"We have a passion for development," said Weybright, whose company also redeveloped the nearby Randall Lofts and spent about three years on the preliminary work for Superior Lofts.
"This is an opportunity in Fort Wayne for us to go to the next level."
Superior Lofts is designed with three kinds of of occupancy.
According to schematics displayed at Tuesday's news conference in the cavernous first floor, that level will be divided into seven commercial spaces -- a 6,900-square-foot space with a loading dock on Calhoun Street and two blocks of 6,500 and 6,700 square feet. Each will be divided into three spaces ranging from 2,000 to 2,700 square feet.
Above will be three floors containing up to a dozen different models of loft-style apartments ranging from about 680 square feet to just under 1,300 square feet.
The basement is planned to become a rental storage area for businesses.
Weybright said to expect a ribbon-cutting on a finished space in about a year.