Electric Works has received an important federal agency approval, the latest in a series of significant steps forward for the redevelopment of the former General Electric campus in downtown Fort Wayne, as the project moves closer to the start of construction later this year.

The National Park Service, which administers the Federal Historic Preservation Tax Incentives program, has approved the redevelopment and rehabilitation plan for the project’s West Campus. The approval is key to unlocking federal historic tax credits, which are important to financing the $250 million first phase, which includes more than 700,000 square feet of adaptive reuse of 10 historic buildings for office, education, innovation, entertainment and retail uses.

Recognizing the value and cost associated with rehabilitating historic buildings, the Federal Historic Preservation Tax Incentives program provides a 20 percent federal income tax credit to developers of qualifying income producing properties. Historic tax credit financing is estimated to bring $34 million of private capital to Electric Works.
“Being approved for historic tax credits acknowledges the historical and architectural significance of the General Electric campus and it confirms that the developers are committed to good design and preservation practice as the site is redeveloped,” said Marsh Davis, president of Indiana Landmarks, the largest statewide preservation organization in the U.S. “We applaud RTM Ventures’ for its vision and persistence in bringing this massive project to fruition.”

“Now more than ever, Northeast Indiana needs the economic impact and opportunity of Electric Works,” explained Jeff Kingsbury of RTM Ventures, the development team behind Electric Works. “This project will play a critical role in supporting and strengthening our local and regional economy – investing more than $200 million over the next 24 months while creating and supporting nearly 2,000 jobs – meaning this project will play a pivotal and critical role in helping our economy recover and regain its momentum.”

With a history of manufacturing and innovation from 1893 to 2015, the 39-acre site and 1.2 million square feet of existing buildings were an economic engine of Northeast Indiana for over a century.

“The historic tax credit program recognizes that these historic, legacy industrial complexes are unique and important opportunities for the private sector to partner with the public sector – with each bringing resources and tools to achieve market-driven solutions to Indiana communities like Fort Wayne and Allen County,” Kingsbury added. “This approval also underscores the Fort Wayne community’s view that the former General Electric campus is historic and worthy of preservation and investment.”

Incorporated into the federal tax code in 1976, the Federal Historic Preservation Tax Incentives program is a widely used redevelopment tool for underutilized properties like the former GE campus in Fort Wayne. Since inception, the credit has leveraged more than $131 billion in private investment, created more than 2.4 million jobs, and preserved more than 42,000 historic buildings in inner cities to small towns across the United States. Over the course of its history, the program has returned an average of $1.20 to the U.S. Treasury for every credit dollar allocated, in addition to the local and state coffers.

In Indiana alone, for example, a total of 179 Historic Tax Credit projects received certifications between 2002 and 2016, resulting in over $911 million in development projects, the creation of more than 15,000 construction and permanent jobs, and the generation of $931 million in household and business income and $194 million in federal, state, and local taxes.