City arranges to purchase the North River property near downtown Fort Wayne

The city of Fort Wayne has arranged to pay $4.63 million to buy and assume environmental cleanup responsibility for the North River property bounded by Fourth, Clinton and Harrison streets just north of downtown. ( file photo)

The city of Fort Wayne has arranged a purchase agreement to pay $4.63 million to buy the North River property at northwest corner of Fourth and Clinton streets, just north of downtown and across Clinton from Science Central, the city announced Thursday.

The agreement with Calhoun Investments LLC, first suggested by The News-Sentinel this week, calls for the city to buy the 29-acre property in its current condition and take responsibility for any future environmental cleanup that may be required, the announcement said. The future use of the property will determine the what type of site preparation or remediation will be needed.

The site, which is bounded by Fourth, Clinton and Harrison streets, was previously used as a rail yard and metals scrap yard, dating back to 1902, the announcement said. The land, which is owned by the Rifkin family, has not been used since 2006.

“This is a tremendous next step in our ongoing efforts to ensure Fort Wayne is a point of destination for economic development opportunities, job growth and quality of life amenities that businesses and residents desire,” Mayor Tom Henry said in the announcement. “We’re looking forward to what opportunities will be possible for private development as a result of the city having control of the North River property.”

The announcement said planned next steps in the purchase process include:

• Monday: Fort Wayne Redevelopment Commission will consider becoming the title holder of the North River property.

• Tuesday: Introduction of ordinance to Fort Wayne City Council for the city to assume responsibility for any future environmental remediation, if required, at the North River property.

• Nov. 16: Allen County-Fort Wayne Capital Improvement Board (CIB) to consider a $4.63 million funding commitment to the city of Fort Wayne Redevelopment Authority to purchase the North River property. The CIB funding would be interest-free and repaid as future development warrants. No deadline would be required for repayment.

• Nov. 21: City Council discussion and possible preliminary vote on the ordinance giving the city approval to assume responsibility for environmental remediation at the site.

• Nov. 28: City Council possible final passage of the ordinance.

• Dec. 1: Closing on the property purchase between the city and Calhoun Investments.