The Electric Works campus first became a center of industrial innovation in 1883. Early entrepreneurs were experimenting with electricity when the Fort Wayne Jenney Electric Light Company was founded by visionary Ranald T. McDonald and inventor James Jenney. Around the turn of the century, Thomas Edison’s fledgling General Electric Co. acquired the business and got busy. At its peak in 1944, the height of WWII, GE employed about a third of Fort Wayne’s workforce. For more than eight decades, the campus churned out electric motors, electrical transformers, and more electronic wonders.
In 2015, GE finally closed the campus to stay competitive in a rapidly changing marketplace. For more than five years, 39 acres, eighteen historic buildings, and more than 1.2 million square feet of space in the heart of Fort Wayne sat vacant, waiting for the chance to be reborn and to generate new experiences and new ideas. In 2017, RTM Ventures acquired the property and crafted a plan with the community for a mixed-use development that would become Electric Works.
Ancora, of RTM Ventures, is the master developer of Electric Works. With a strategic focus on urban redevelopment and a commitment to community revitalization, the principals of RTM Ventures have developed over $1 billion of real estate in Indiana and across the United States. The principals each bring a unique and extensive track record in sophisticated capital structures, public/private partnerships, brownfield redevelopment, historic adaptive reuse, as well as the application of federal, state, and local tax credit and economic development incentive programs. The name RTM Ventures honors Ranald T. McDonald, the early entrepreneur who first launched the Fort Wayne Jenney Electric Light Co. in the late 1800s.