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Drawing inspiration from the country’s most successful urban markets, the Electric Works food hall and public market will be a mission-driven, actively managed and curated facility that will feature independent small businesses selling a range of foods and beverages – with a focus on products grown, produced and developed in northeast Indiana.

To ensure the food hall and public market remains focused on its mission and community impact, we’ve created the Electric Works Public Market Trust, a nonprofit entity that will provide a range of educational, fundraising and oversight functions in conjunction with the market management team.

Modeled on similar entities that support public markets in other cities – like the Reading Terminal Market Preservation Trust in Philadelphia, the Grand Rapids Downtown Market Educational Foundation and the Pike Place Market Foundation in Seattle – the Electric Works Public Market Trust will support and strengthen that market’s mission in a number of key ways.

These include:

  • Helping the market create a dynamic and inclusive space for employees, customers and the public
  • Supporting the farmers and food producers of northeast Indiana
  • Enhancing community wellness
  • Providing access to healthy foods
  • Leading community engagement efforts on behalf of the public market
  • Implementing education programs and partnerships

The Public Market Trust will be governed by a board of directors that will be as diverse and inclusive as the community it serves. It will include members selected by the Allen County Commissioners, Mayor of Fort Wayne, Fort Wayne City Council and RTM Ventures. Those board members will then select others representing key programmatic or philanthropic partners for a total board membership of up to 13.

As you can see, there’s going to be much more to the Electric Works food hall and public market experience and impact beyond vendors and products. And the Public Market Trust will play a critical role in ensuring that impact stretches far beyond the parameters of the market itself.

Ruoff Mortgage, the largest purchase lender in the Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Kentucky combined markets, has signed a letter of intent to locate a growing portion of its Fort Wayne-based headquarters team at Electric Works.

The company is in the process of determining which areas of its Fort Wayne-based operations will expand to the project’s West Campus when it opens in 2022.

“While we are still formalizing the strategy around how that space will be utilized, we felt it important to make an investment in the community with this project, which has garnered incredible support and excitement,” said Mark Music, President and CEO of Ruoff Mortgage.

“Ruoff Mortgage is a well-known brand and an incredible home-grown success story, and we’re excited to help Mark Music and Ruoff leadership team continue their growth and success here in Fort Wayne,” said Jeff Kingsbury of RTM Ventures, the development team behind Electric Works. “Like many growing companies, they recognize the challenges in attracting, retaining and growing a talented workforce here – and like Do it Best and our other tenants, they also recognize the unique and critical advantages Electric Works offers them in meeting that challenge directly.”

Founded in 1984, Ruoff Mortgage is the largest purchase lender in the Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Kentucky combined markets and one of the fastest-growing companies in the country. Today, the company has more than 850 employees at its Fort Wayne headquarters and across nearly 70 locations in Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky, and Florida. For more information, visit ruoff.com.

About Electric Works

Electric Works is a mixed-use district of innovation, energy and culture, developed as a public-private partnership between RTM Ventures and the City of Fort Wayne. A redevelopment and adaptive reuse of the former General Electric campus, the first phase of Electric Works includes more than 700,000 square feet of space and offers office, innovation, education, healthcare, retail, entertainment, and community uses to create new opportunities for inclusive economic growth. For more information, visit the Electric Works website.

Official release from the City of Fort Wayne:

RTM Ventures and Mayor Tom Henry today announced that a tentative agreement has been reached to move the Electric Works project forward.

The Model Group has joined RTM Ventures as a co-developer for the project and local businessman Tim Ash has become an investor and general partner. The Model Group and Ash will have integral leadership roles in helping ensure the success of Electric Works.

In addition, a newly revised economic development agreement will provide the framework for the public and private sectors to meet certain expectations in order to reach a closing to be followed by the start of construction. When finalized, the agreement will need approval by the local governing bodies responsible for approving the Electric Works project. No official timetable has been established to go before the governing bodies, but the City of Fort Wayne and RTM will begin seeking the necessary approvals as soon as possible to complete a closing by year-end.

The Model Group is based in Cincinnati and specializes in revitalizing urban neighborhoods and was instrumental in the redevelopment of Cincinnati’s historic Over-The-Rhine community. The Model Group led the successful $34 million redevelopment of The Landing in downtown Fort Wayne and is currently working on the $100 million redevelopment of the Arcade in downtown Dayton with lead developer Cross Street Partners. Cross Street Partners is part of RTM Ventures.

Tim Ash serves as CEO for Ash Brokerage, a leader in the insurance services sector and has its national corporate headquarters in downtown Fort Wayne as part of the Ash Skyline Plaza development that also features office and retail space and a parking garage and connects to Skyline Tower that offers housing and dining. Ash is also part of a new project in downtown Fort Wayne, the Ashberry, a mixed-use development to include commercial and retail space and a parking garage.

The new partnership will also allow for two additional improvements in Fort Wayne. First, $7.5 million in a New Markets Tax Credits allocation from UACD, a Cross Street Partners affiliate, will go toward the development of the new headquarters for the Fort Wayne Philharmonic Orchestra, which will be located on the Perfection Bakeries site in downtown Fort Wayne. Second, Tim Ash has committed to reinvest any financial gains associated with his investment in Electric Works to the southeast side of Fort Wayne.

The first phase of Electric Works is 12 acres and 730,000 square feet of office, innovation, education, healthcare, retail, and entertainment uses. With over 60% pre-leasing, Electric Works is anchored by the corporate headquarters of Do it Best Corp with other major tenants including Parkview Health, Fort Wayne Community Schools, Indiana Tech, IU Ventures, Medical Informatics Engineering, and Fort Wayne Metals. The $280 million project includes commitments for over $215 million of private capital, federal, and state tax credits.

“Electric Works presents the rare opportunity to revitalize a vacant and blighted remnant of the past by leveraging the historic buildings to create a mixed-use innovation district that will impact the economy of northeast Indiana,” said Bobby Maly, Chief Executive Officer of Model Group. “We look forward to working with Mayor Henry and to again partner with principals of RTM Ventures in our shared mission to positively transform communities.”

“This is a once in a lifetime opportunity that keeps our City moving forward and continues the momentum of positive development that has been taking place in downtown for the past several years,” said Tim Ash. “We know that 2020 has been a challenging year on many levels and getting Electric Works underway is an example of how Fort Wayne is going to be a “net winner” in attracting and retaining talent and creating new jobs. I am excited to work alongside of RTM, The Model Group and the City and I have all of the confidence in the world this project will be a success as our sole focus will be on producing a great outcome for the citizens of Fort Wayne.”

“Tim Ash’s major investments in and passionate commitment to downtown gave us confidence to invest in Fort Wayne,” said Josh Parker, managing principal of RTM Ventures. “With Model Group’s demonstrated success with The Landing, and our work together in Dayton, we have a co-developer that we respect and who shares our values. Tim and Bobby fully support the community’s vision for Electric Works and we welcome them to the team that will deliver the promise of Electric Works to this community.”

“I’m so encouraged that The Model Group and Tim Ash are joining this partnership to help bring Electric Works to fruition,” said Mayor Henry. “Moving forward, our collective focus is for a successful redevelopment project that protects taxpayers and is viable now and in the future. It’s also vital to have Do it Best as the anchor tenant and corporate partner with good jobs in our community as part of the efforts to redevelop the former GE campus.

Join Fort Wayne 5th District City Councilman Geoff Paddock for a virtual town hall Sept. 3 at 7:00 pm. Members of the development team will provide updates on Electric Works, including project financing, and answer questions from the community.

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/82226857602?pwd=eXRoOVV6Q1o2YlRSY0ZPSUh5R3J6dz09
Passcode: EWtownhall

Do it Best has signed a lease to become the anchor tenant at Electric Works, enabling the largest privately held company in Indiana to maintain Allen County as its global headquarters and grow its team in the coming years.

The lease calls for Do it Best Corp. to occupy approximately 200,000 square feet of space on multiple floors in Building 26 on the project’s West Campus, with the ability to add up to 20,000 square feet more if needed for expansion. Do it Best will move into Electric Works as soon as construction is complete on West Campus, which is expected to be in the second half of 2022.

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