Former Coke plant reopens as ‘Bottle Works Lofts’ housing development

The former Coke bottling plant is now a housing project, but its history is still seen in the sidewalk along Pontiac Street. (News-Sentinel.com photo by Kevin Leininger)
Many apartments in the old Coke plant feature skylights and retain the original industrial walls, ceilings and other features. (News-Sentinel.com photo by Kevin Leininger)

The former Coca-Cola bottling plant at 1631 E. Pontiac St. is now open as Bottle Works Lofts, a $14.5 million project that includes 31 affordable rental units, on-site management office, a community room, business center, media room, fitness center, outdoor shelter and indoor and outdoor playgrounds. Also included are 19 lease-to-purchase single family homes located throughout the Renaissance Pointe neighborhood, which were completed last year and are already leased.

Mayor Tom Henry joined representatives from Miller-Valentine Group and Vincent Village Monday to celebrate the grand opening of the long-closed plant. Miller-Valentine Group and Vincent Village are co-developers of the project, with Vincent Village acting as the supportive service provider, helping link tenants up with area services and programs. The homes were built on vacant lots previously owned by the city of Fort Wayne. The Coke building was constructed in 1943 and purchased by the city in 2012 in anticipation of redevelopment.

“We are proud to be a partner in this exciting development,” stated Denise Andorfer, executive director of Vincent Village Inc. “The new rental units and lease-to-purchase homes provide excellent options for residents who are part of Vincent Village’s mission to move individuals from homelessness to self-sufficiency.”

“This is a great day for Renaissance Pointe and the City of Fort Wayne,” said Mayor Tom Henry added. “For the last seven years, we have been working to redevelop this historic building and make it an asset to the neighborhood instead of a blighting influence. We are grateful to Miller-Valentine and Vincent Village for their dedication to seeing this project to completion.”

Many organizations, financial institutions and government agencies are investing in the Bottle Works development, including the city through dollars provided by the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD); the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority through federal low-income housing tax credits; PNC Bank through federal historic tax credits issued by the National Park Service; Federal Home Loan Bank of Indianapolis; and Old National Bank. Martin Riley is the local architect working on the project.

Bottle Works Lofts will helps fill a need for affordable housing, as the Fort Wayne Housing Authority has more than 2,000 applicants on its public housing program’s waiting list. Bottle Works tenants will pay rent based on their income so they will not be housing burdened.

Leasing information can be found at www.mvahpartners.com/properties/bottle-works-lofts or by calling 260-402-9257.

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