A new residential project slated to start this year on Superior Street will do so under a tax abatement approved by the Fort Wayne City Council on Tuesday night.
The project, known as Superior Lofts, has an estimated cost of about $9.8 million and would transform an existing building at 102 W. Superior St. into a collection of 72 loft-style apartments, with retail space on the ground floor.
A building at 124 W. Superior St. is expected to be used as indoor and outdoor parking for tenants.
"This is a new entity that’s been formed by RealAmerica, that will own the former Graphic Packaging facilities on West Superior Street in downtown," said Elissa McGauley, an economic development specialist with the city.
"The majority of the building on 102 W. Superior St. will have lofted apartments that will be market rate."
McGauley said the property is in the downtown economic development target area and is eligible for a 10-year tax abatement for real property improvements, as well as a two-year vacant property abatement.
The total value of the abatement will be about $1.6 million over 10 years, according to McGauley.
The project is expected to create two full-time positions to manage the on-site leasing office, RealAmerica Development’s Jeff Ryan told the council.
But more jobs can be expected through commercial space below the planned apartments.
"We are also creating about 21,000 square feet of ground-floor retail, that we estimate is going to be somewhere – depending on what the use is – from 50 to 100, possibly 150 jobs on that," he said.
"So the development should create significantly more jobs, and during construction we’ll have 100 to 125 jobs for construction."
The project will also contain 12,000 square feet of climate-controlled self-storage, Ryan said.
RealAmerica Development also owns the recently completed Randall Lofts at 616 S. Harrison St.
The lofts will be similar, Ryan said, in that they are apartments above retail or commercial space, but the rent will be different at Superior Lofts.
"We’ll have higher rents at Superior Lofts," he said.
Councilman Geoff Paddock, D-5th, described the Superior Lofts project as "exciting."
Paddock represents the district where Superior Lofts will be located.
"To me, that’s another exciting development, and it shows they have momentum for downtown living, which we’ve been talking about for some time, and obviously people are hoping the units that are constructed will bring some more commercial things downtown like a grocery store or pharmacy, something like that," Paddock said.
Superior Lofts is expected to be complete by summer 2016.