Developers get delay they say is needed to comply with Electric Works commitments

(Courtesy image)

Electric Works developers have received the crucial extra time they say is needed to keep the $250 million redevelopment of the former General Electric campus moving forward.

Ratifying a decision made earlier this month by the city’s Redevelopment Commission, the Allen County-Fort Wayne Capital Improvement Board Thursday gave RTM Ventures until Nov. 30 to meet the conditions set by their development agreement with the city, including the finalization of private financing and signed leases totaling at least 250,000 square feet. June had been the original deadline for closing the deal, but as The News-Sentinel reported last month a delay in the availability of tax credits developers attributed to the 35-day partial shutdown of the federal government that ended in late January made meeting the deal’s original deadlines impossible.

That would have jeopardized $65 million in local funding pledges, including $45 million in food and beverage taxes approved by the CIB, because the public funds will not be made available until terms of the development agreement are satisfied.

“We won’t close (on the agreement) until we’re 100 percent satisfied (RTM has met its commitments),” city Redevelopment Director Nancy Townsend told the CIB.

Developers say that because of the shutdown, federal tax credits that were to have been offered during the first quarter probably won’t be available until at least May. And although there is no guarantee Fort Wayne will receive any of the credits even then, RTM attorney Pete Mallers said he is confident the city will get its share, and that it will commit a sufficient amount to Electric Works.

The tax credits, Townsend said, are an “essential element” to the funding package that also includes support from the city’s Legacy Fund created through the sale of the former municipal electric utility.

Although no leases have yet been signed, Mallers said letters of intent have been signed for nearly 120,000 square feet.

RTM’s Jeff Kingsbury told The News-Sentinel last month he remains very confident in the project. Over the past several weeks several prospective tenants have announced their intent to operate in Electric Works, including the Indiana University Research and Technology Corp., Spherion Staffing, Three Rivers Music Theatre, Sport Wayne Inc. (a climbing gym and adventure park) and Fort Wayne Metals. The Community Foundation of Greater Fort Wayne announced a $500,000 investment in January and other organizations, including Medical Informatics Engineering, Parkview Health, Indiana Tech and the Fort Wayne Community Schools have also expressed interest.