Capital Improvement Board pays $6M for site once eyed for new downtown arena

Once eyed as the location for a new downtown arena, this block to the west of the Grand Wayne Center could allow room for expansion of the center, public space or commercial development. (File photo by John McGauley)

The Allen County-Fort Wayne Capital Improvement Board on Thursday agreed to buy the so-called “fast food block” west of the Grand Wayne Center for $6 million. The CIB, which oversees county food and beverage tax revenues, acquired an option to buy the property in late 2018 and will pay $200,000 to exercise the option.

CIB members stressed there are currently no plans to redevelop the property, which is home to fast-food restaurants and a parking lot for the Allen County Public Library. The site could allow for future Grand Wayne expansion and was also eyed as a potential site for a new downtown arena — a project Mayor Tom Henry said may again be under consideration.

Completion of the sale is subject to an environmental inspection. The block is currently home to a Taco Bell, Rally’s, King Gyros and other tenants that will be allowed to remain, and pay rent to the CIB, until the property is needed for another purpose.