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UPDATED: Mayor Tom Henry backs crucial extension of deal needed to land ‘anchor tenant’; developers respond

For the fourth time, Electric Works' developers say they need more time to comply with terms of their agreement with the city. (News-Sentinel.com file photo by Kevin Leininger)

Electric Works developers will apparently receive an extension of their deal with the city they say is needed to land a crucial “anchor tenant” for the $230 million project.

Mayor Tom Henry Friday announced his support for an extension of deadlines to the city’s economic development agreement with RTM Ventures. It would be the third such extension.

As The News-Sentinel first reported earlier this month, RTM Ventures saysd it has secured a letter of intent from a company wanting to locate its headquarters in 200,000 square feet of the former General Electric campus. Completion of such a lease would be crucial, because RTM’s development with the city requires it to have 250,000 square feet leased leased, along with certain private financial commitments, by Feb. 1. The corporate headquarters brings the space covered by various letters of intent to 415,068 square feet, said Parker, who called the anchor tenant a “game changer.”

But attraction of such a large tenant requires some changes to RTM’s plans — work that could not be completed by Feb. 1. So RTM has requested the deadline for leasing, funding and construction documents back to April 30, and to June 30 for closing. That would give RTM the time it needs to do such things as provide more office space by eliminating 60 planned residential units, Parker said.

Local public financing partners, which together have pledged $65 million for the project, will consider the request at upcoming meetings of the Fort Wayne Redevelopment Commission, the Allen County Fort Wayne Capital Improvement Board of Managers, and Allen County Commissioners.

“I continue to be optimistic that we’re going to be able to make Electric Works a reality. The local public funding partners remain committed to working with RTM Ventures to see the project happen and succeed while being good stewards of taxpayer dollars,” Henry said in a statement. “I’m also encouraged that a potential anchor tenant has been identified. Our community recognizes that large projects are complex and time consuming but are important to help ensure local and regional success.”

The local public financing entities worked collaboratively to secure the necessary public funding of $65 million for the project. That funding is in place and will be released when all conditions of the economic development agreement are met and closing occurs. RTM has declined to reveal the potential anchor tenant, citing a confidentiality agreement.

Gov. Eric Holcomb, state Secretary of Commerce Jim Schellinger and the Indiana Economic Development Corp. have all been working to bring the tenant to Electric Works, Parker said.

“We appreciate Mayor Henry’s public statement in support of adjusting the timeline for the financial closing, and we agree with the mayor that large projects like this are complex and take time. As we move toward a construction start this summer, we will be working side by side with our investors, Mayor Henry and his staff, the Fort Wayne Redevelopment Commission, the Allen County Fort Wayne Capital Improvement Board, the Allen County Commissioners and the Indiana Economic Development Corporation to deliver the community’s vision for Electric Works,” RTM said in a statement.

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