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New plan for former N. Anthony Scott’s site, but owners say COVID-19 complicates things

Rogers Properties is seeking permission for construction of new buildings on the former North Anthony Boulevard site of a Scott's Food store, but nothing is imminent, the company says. (News-Sentinel.com photo by Kevin Leininger)
Owners of this site at North Anthony and Crescent want to redevelop the property -- but another grocery may be unlikely. (Photo by John McGauley)

It’s been eight years since structural problems forced the closure of the Scott’s Food store at North Anthony Boulevard and Crescent Avenue, four years since the now-defunct Marsh grocery chain expressed interest in the property and two years since the building was razed.

The 3.5-acre site’s owner, Fort Wayne-based Rogers Properties, figures it’s time for a new plan — even though company spokesman John Rogers admits the uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic complicates things.

Although there are currently no plans to do so, earlier this month the company asked the Fort Wayne Plan Commission to allow construction of as many as three new buildings on the “out lots” of the site, which also includes an Asian restaurant and a vacant building that formerly housed a drug store. Rogers said any new construction would probably be left to tenants that have not yet been found.

“After Marsh went out we talked to a lot of other (groceries) but there were no takers,” Rogers said. “We’d be foolish to say no (if one expressed interest), but it’s a non-producing asset. With the economy the way it was, this seemed like a good time (to move in a new direction). Rogers said the company also approached Trader Joe’s, which has since expressed interest in opening a Fort Wayne store, possibly in Jefferson Pointe. Many nearby residents have long supported location of a grocery at the former Scott’s site.

Rogers’ description of the strong economy in the past tense was an acknowledgement that the financial disruption caused by COVID-19 may make would-be tenants more reluctant to undertake a new venture until stability returns. The Plan Commission, which had been scheduled to consider the proposal next month, has postponed the hearing indefinitely.

In the meantime, however, Rogers said the company will continue to market the property and hope for an economic rebound.

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