Fort Wayne outlines next steps for ‘North River’ property

The city is seeking a state grant to remove contamination from the "North River" site prior to its redevelopment. Proposals are due next month. ( File photo by Kevin Leininger of

Fort Wayne City Council agreed to pay $4.63 million for the so-called “North River” property in November, and now the city is outlining what it will do next in its effort to redevelop the 29 acres just north of downtown.

The city is working with the Indiana Brownfields Program to receive a letter indicating the program is comfortable with the North River property being used for future development. The program may ask for some additional soil sampling work to be conducted. This is a customary practice when a site goes from one type of use to a different type of use. The now-vacant site was used by various industries for more than a century, and a decade-old study found contaminants must still be removed, a cost the city estimates at less than $250,000. The city is also responsible for any expense over that level, however.

The city will also issue a request for qualifications (RFQ) to determine interest and expertise from the private sector for development opportunities. The RFQ will be available beginning Thursday, Feb. 8 at Once qualifications are reviewed, the entities that meet the qualifications would move to a request for proposals (RFP) process to submit their formal proposals for development.

The city also plans to have the property rezoned to allow for future development that’s more compatible with the area than the previous industrial use. City leaders said they will continue to keep nearby neighborhoods and stakeholders informed about the North River development process as it moves forward.

The future use of the property will determine the necessary site preparation or environmental remediation.