Union Street Market today announced five new merchants, bringing the total to 19 of its 25 overall merchant spaces. Four of the five will be located in the Market’s East Hall, where patrons will primarily find fresh and specialty food items.

“Like all great public markets, Union Street Market will be a place to shop for locally grown and produced foods and a place to eat and drink,” said Ted Spitzer, Union Street Market’s director of planning and development. “The businesses we are announcing today include a butcher shop that will feature beef, pork and lamb from local farms; a fishmonger bringing the freshest seafood to Fort Wayne from both coasts; a wonderful charcuterie, cheese, and wine bar; a hyper-local bee farmer with an amazing range of honey and bee products, and a vegan bistro that puts sustainability at the center of the plate.”

The five businesses announced include:

  • Craft Meatery builds on Jason Brown’s deep commitment to the farming community in Indiana and adjoining states. As chef-owner of 110 Craft Meatery in Warsaw, Brown proudly serves only meats sourced from local farms. “Our staff currently cuts all the meat used in the restaurant, and we have a display case where patrons can purchase fresh local meats, so creating a butcher shop at Union Street Market feels like a logical next step for our business,” Brown said. “Not only will Fort Wayne customers now have access to fresh local meats and poultry every day, but our grill in the Market allows us to serve burgers and house-made sausages and get creative with the product our farmers will supply us with.”
  • Market Seafood fills a major void in Fort Wayne – a dedicated seafood store that features products from sustainable fisheries. Seeing this opportunity, Jason Brown returns to his roots as a chef at Noa seafood restaurant in Warsaw. “Observing the success of seafood stalls at the Grand Rapids Downtown Market and Milwaukee Public Market, we see tremendous potential for a seafood business at Union Street Market,” Brown said. “We will blow everyone away with the variety and freshness!”
  • From My Side of the Kitchen is the brainchild of Jennifer Krider, who for over 30 years has been a leader in the local culinary and food retail scene as director of catering, culinary instructor, and executive chef. Since 2019, “The Kitchen” has provided catering services to Northeast Indiana along with its specialty food boutique in Columbia City. “At Union Street Market, the Kitchen will feature our popular grazing boxes, which offer amazing local cheeses and charcuterie, plus a great selection of Indiana wines,” said Krider. “Customers will also enjoy our olive bar, fresh salads, and wraps with a broad selection of house-made items.”
  • Neon Carrot is a plant-based bistro where sustainability is always on the menu. Their eclectic menu is created from organic, locally sourced, fresh ingredients and features their signature Vegan McDowell Ribs and Carrot Dawgs as well as tapas, sushi, and a weekend prix fixe dinner. Debbie and Nathan Morin, founders of North Coast Organics in Fort Wayne, currently create award-winning edible body-care products that are sold nationally. “We are excited about returning to our roots in the culinary arts,” said Nathan Morin. “Neon Carrot’s mission is to be a force for good and prove that plant-based foods don’t have to be expensive or rely on fake meat products.
  • Bee Great mirrors the passion of David and Tammy Mullins for all things bee-related. Both are educators: David a former professor and college administrator and Tammy a principal with Fort Wayne Community Schools. They have grown David’s bee-keeping hobby into a thriving business producing honey and beeswax skin care products along with hive-tending services and a store in Churubusco. “I started with two hives in 2018 and now tend nearly 60, which produce about two tons of honey each year,” said Mullins. “At Union Street Market, customers will find our barrel-aged honeys infused with bourbon and coffee, plus all sorts of treats made with honey from cookies to cocktail mixers!”

Union Street Market remains on schedule to open in October 2022. Additional merchant announcements are expected soon, but there are still a few spaces available. Food entrepreneurs are encouraged to visit www.unionstreetmarket.org to learn about leasing opportunities.

The Allen County-Fort Wayne Capital Improvement Board (CIB), which oversees the Grand Wayne Convention Center and disburses funding from the Allen County Supplemental Food & Beverage Tax, appointed six inaugural members of the Electric Works Public Market Trust. The Public Market Trust is an independent nonprofit organization that will monitor the performance of Union Street Market at Electric Works and create food access and educational programs that benefit the community.

“When local government decided to invest public dollars into the rebirth of the former GE plant, we stipulated that the developers would create a mission-driven public market that enhances community wellness and provides underserved residents with access to healthy foods,” said Mayor Tom Henry. “The Electric Works Public Market Trust, working alongside the operators of Union Street Market, will ensure that this happens.”

The Economic Development Agreement between the city, county and developer states that the CIB appoints six of the Trust’s 13 board members. “We are thrilled to announce the six people chosen to help lead this new organization,” said Jim Cook, CIB President. “These volunteers are community leaders on the front lines of nutrition education, getting healthy foods to seniors and kids, local farming and creating dynamic and inclusive public spaces.”

The six board members are:

  • Michelle Bojrab-Wray is lead community outreach dietitian at Parkview Health, where she oversees nutrition and wellness initiatives with a focus on health equity. Bojrab-Wray is past president of the Indiana Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
  • Riley Johnson is founding director of AMP Lab High School at Electric Works, a new FWCS STEAM high school that will open at Electric Works in August. An award-winning teacher and principal, Johnson has served as an administrator in FWCS since 2019.
  • Janet Katz is founding director of the Northeast Indiana Local Food Network, which she launched in 2017 to promote and connect local farms, food producers, restaurants, markets and wholesale buyers to grow the region’s food system.
  • Aaron Parkinson is program chair of hospitality administration at Ivy Tech Community College, where he oversees the six-faculty hospitality program. Parkinson is a certified executive chef and has taught culinary arts at Ivy Tech for 11 years.
  • Chuck Reddinger is deputy director of Fort Wayne’s Department of Parks & Recreation. Among his many responsibilities, Reddinger oversees Salomon Park, community centers and Promenade Park, which each have programming related to food and farming, with an emphasis on serving youth and seniors.
  • Mary Tyndall is food insecurity & nutrition program officer at St. Joseph Community Health Foundation, where she manages grants to organizations addressing food insecurity and nutrition throughout Allen County and oversees the Healthy Eating Active Living (HEAL) program, which provides nutrition and cooking classes for underserved residents.

Electric Works Public Market Trust will monitor and report on the accomplishments of Union Street Market, run cooking and nutrition classes in the Market’s teaching kitchen, promote and expand the use of SNAP, Double Up Indiana, and Produce Prescription programs for low-income residents, and engage the community in the life of the Market. The new board will begin meeting this spring, in preparation for Union Street Market’s opening in the fall. As a tax-exempt nonprofit, the Public Market Trust will be eligible for grants and donations to support its programs.

The Market has secured commitments from 15 local independent food businesses to be daily merchants, and more will be announced soon. “The merchants at Union Street Market, along with the outdoor farmers’ market, will provide a consistent and accessible place for Fort Wayne residents to access high quality, local fresh foods year-round,” said Jeff Kingsbury of Ancora, the lead developer of Electric Works. “The Public Market Trust will be a key partner in ensuring that the Market offers cooking classes, wellness activities and creative programming that serve Fort Wayne’s diverse community.”

Union Street Market today announced four new businesses for the year-round, indoor food market at Electric Works, bringing the total to 12.

“The selection of these new merchants marks an important milestone – the Market has filled half of the available spaces,” said Ted Spitzer, Union Street Market’s director of planning and development. “These diverse businesses show the breadth of what the Market will offer, from farm fresh fruits and vegetables to hot BBQ and Middle Eastern foods to a full-service bar with inventive cocktails and a wide range of Indiana spirits and beers on tap.”

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The Fort Wayne City Council gave its unanimous preliminary approval to our rezoning request as we move forward with Phase 2 of Electric Works. This rezoning paves the way for us to move forward with the $107 million project, which is a mixed-use development including an 1,100-space parking garage wrapped by more than 280 residential units, an early childhood learning center, a fitness and wellness center, and retail space.

Source: WANE-TV

Weigand Construction welcomed more than 50 local companies interested in being a part of Phase 1 of construction at Electric Works to a meeting Wednesday morning. The pre-bid meeting enabled Weigand leaders to walk through the details of the construction process and how the project’s general contractor will solicit bids for a number of components, products and services. Companies interested in bidding on any aspects of the construction process were encouraged to attend Wednesday’s pre-bid meeting.

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Joshua’s Hand, a 501(c)(3) organization founded in 2013, announced the launch of its workforce development initiative, Joshua Works. Joshuaworks.org. Joshua Works is partnering with Broadway Redevelopment Partners and Weigand Construction to advocate for Minority, Women and Veteran Business owners for contractual opportunities on the Electric Works project. In addition, the Joshua Works initiative was created to recruit, cultivate, and train a viable workforce to address the unemployment and underemployment in the construction trades.

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Earlier this summer, we were delighted to host correspondent Rebecca Nolan of the NPR podcast “Journeys of Discovery” for a tour and conversation. Listen to her story and experience here.

 

We are at a critical moment in the life of Electric Works and we need the support from our partners in the community now more than ever to make the vision of Electric Works a reality.

Since we began working on Electric Works 3 years ago, we have said this is a community project. And it has been, as demonstrated by the 91% of Allen County residents who voiced their support for Electric Works in a survey last year. It’s why we are working side-by-side with the economic development leaders that are charged with growing jobs and creating a nationally recognized economy in Fort Wayne and Northeast Indiana. Electric Works has shined a national light on Fort Wayne and generated over 224 million media impressions with coverage from the Wall Street Journal, Huffington Post, Bloomberg, and The Atlantic.

In addition to national media, we’re working with national site selectors and national investors and lenders about investing in this community. We can report that investors and lenders, including large Wall Street capital sources, don’t readily see the potential of Fort Wayne that we see in Fort Wayne. We can change that.

It takes time, it takes commitment, and it takes a catalyst like Electric Works to increase jobs and wages. It also takes aggressive and bold leadership. The fight for talent and economic development is being waged on a global scale and we’re competing with other communities, each united in working to make them the best. Fort Wayne deserves that, too.

We’re not just telling the story of Electric Works; we’re advocating for Fort Wayne, its proud past and its future potential. It should go without saying that to realize our full potential in Fort Wayne, we all need to advocate for this community. There continues to be a small group of people in positions of influence and power, however, who are working aggressively to thwart the progress of this project and the potential of this community. Unfortunately, this has undermined our efforts, resulting in skittish investors and reluctant tenant prospects for Electric Works. To those that seek to stop progress out of your own fear of change, financial profit or political gain, we’re asking you to put the interest of this community ahead of your own and commit yourselves to support Fort Wayne in moving this transformative project forward.

Despite these efforts, we have made enormous progress with pre-leasing interest and commitments of significant federal and state financial support that leave us on the cusp of success. However, the innovation district strategy used successfully in so many other cities, with a public-private partnership and significant leasing and programs from multiple anchor institutions to drive innovation in partnership with business, needs to be a regional economic development priority for Electric Works.

Our assessment is that this project will not move forward without a change in these conditions. The national reputation of this community and the possibilities for its next generation are at stake.

We continue to believe in the people and potential of Fort Wayne and Northeast Indiana and are more committed than ever to overcome the challenges. We have recently engaged Eric Doden, the former president of the Indiana Economic Development Corporation and CEO of Greater Fort Wayne, Inc., as a consultant with a focus on reaching our construction start goal by November 1st. If it is clear that cannot be accomplished, Eric will work with us to restructure the deal or sell the property to make sure that everyone who has been on our team is made whole and that this community gets a catalytic project that it deserves. Anyone who knows Eric will attest that he will work relentlessly and passionately to ensure the success of this community and we’re pleased to have him join our team.

To the elected and appointed officials that have supported this project, to the business leaders and tenants that have thus far planned to create over 225 new jobs at Electric Works, and to the thousands of citizens that have showed up to public meetings, attended tours of the campus, participated in neighborhood meetings and community events to share your vision of Electric Works, and put signs of support in your yards, we’re grateful; we couldn’t have gotten this far without you. We’re also incredibly blessed by a talented group of local architects, engineers and consultants who have worked hard to deliver a great project and demonstrate Fort Wayne is a place for serious business and meaningful growth.

We want to again express our thanks to all of you in the community for your continued support, working alongside our team as we start construction of Electric Works by November 1st.

Josh Parker
Kevan Biggs
Jeff Kingsbury

Medical Informatics Engineering has signed a letter of intent to open future operations at the former General Electric campus. MIE’s initial plans include an advanced research and development center, as well as a state-of-the-art “virtual presence” training center. It’s unclear how many square feet the company will need.

 

Source: Fort Wayne Journal Gazette

The Fort Wayne Redevelopment Commission approved Monday an economic development agreement with RTM Ventures for Electric Works. It’s the first in a series of bars to be vaulted before $62 million of city funds can be harnessed to regenerate the campus.

The commission’s vote came just 12 days after RTM Ventures and Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry announced a funding structure to move forward on Electric Works.

See more about Monday’s vote.