Frequently Asked Questions

People have lots of questions about Electric Works, as you can imagine. Below, we answer the ones we’re most frequently asked.

What’s the plan for Electric Works?

A redevelopment and adaptive re-use of the former General Electric campus in downtown Fort Wayne, 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. Electric Works includes 39 acres, 18 historic buildings and more than 1.2 million square feet of space for office, education, retail, residential, hotel, and entertainment uses.

Does the plan reflect the priorities and input of the community?

The master plan considers and supports the goals and objectives of important community plans. Including: Downtown Blueprint, Walk Fort Wayne, Bike Fort Wayne, Front Door Fort Wayne, and Plan-It Allen! The vision for Electric Works, however, began with the priorities and approach of the 2015 GE Property Task Force, convened by Geoff Paddock and Tom Smith. The task force identified four main themes that the local community wanted to guide the redevelopment vision: 1) historic preservation, 2) environmental remediation, 3) placemaking; and 4) scalability. We believe a community will support what it helps to create. The design and development team began engaging with neighborhood residents and community leaders to refine the master plan even before acquiring the property; those conversations continue today and will be a priority in the future. An unprecedented level of community engagement has involved over 4,500 residents expressing their wish for Electric Works.

Who is behind the project? Are they experienced at this type of project?

Electric Works is a development of RTM Ventures LLC, a joint venture of Durham-based Ancora Partners, Baltimore-based Cross Street Partners, and Fort Wayne-area firms Biggs Group, and Weigand Construction. RTM Ventures LLC, along with local and national investors, formed Broadway Redevelopment Partners LLC, which owns the property and is providing the private equity for the project. With a strategic focus on redevelopment and community revitalization, the principals of RTM Ventures have developed more than 17 million square feet of real estate, and thousands of market-rate and mixed-income residential communities in Indiana and throughout the United States. The principals of RTM Ventures are leaders in historic, adaptive reuse and the development of innovation districts.

Are local and Indiana-based firms involved in the project?

Coupled with nationwide experts, Electric Works taps the talents of leading Indiana and Fort Wayne-based construction, architecture, landscape architecture, and engineering firms to reimagine the future of this historic campus. Weigand Construction of Fort Wayne has been retained as the construction manager for Electric Works. Other Fort Wayne- and Indiana-based firms involved include Design Collaborative Architects + Engineers, Hoch Associates, Elevatus Architecture, Viridian Architectural Design, Martin Riley Architects + Engineers, MSKTD & Associates, Engineering Resources, and SCO Engineering. Other Indiana firms include Spark Placemaking, Anderson + Bohlander, and Hull Associates.

Who has supported or endorsed the project?

A July 2018 poll of Allen County residents by Pittsburgh-based Campos Research & Strategy found that 86 percent have a ‘very favorable’ or ‘somewhat favorable’ view of the Electric Works project. Further, 67 percent said they support the use of local funds for Electric Works.

In addition to overwhelming public support, we’ve received formal support and / or endorsements from a number of local, regional and statewide groups and organizations, including:

  • Indiana Economic Development Corporation
  • ARCH, Inc.
  • Upstate Association of REALTORS
  • Young Leaders of Northeast Indiana
  • Greater Fort Wayne, Inc.
  • Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership Governing Board
    • Regional Opportunities Council
    • Mayors’ and Commissioners’ Caucus
    • Local Economic Development Organization (LEDO) Council
    • Emerging Leaders Alliance (ELA)
  • News-Sentinel Editorial Board
  • Journal-Gazette Editorial Board
  • West Central Neighborhood Association
  • Fort Wayne Public Market, Inc.
  • GE Quarter Century Club
  • GE Campus Coalition

How is the project being financed?

The project is structured as a public-private partnership. Redevelopment of the West Campus is the first phase and is financed as follows:

  • 40.4% Private Equity and Debt: $113.4 million
  • 23.2% Local: TIF, CIB, County, Legacy: $65 million
  • 19.0% Indiana Industrial Recovery and Redevelopment Tax Credits: $53.3 million (net)
  • 12.9% Federal Historic Tax Credits: $36.2 million (net)
  • 4.5% Federal New Markets Tax Credits: $12.5 million (net)

Why $65 million in local support?

As the catalyst for downtown redevelopment, the Harrison Square/Parkview Field project was approximately $120 million, with $64 million in local public funding or 56% of the total project costs. Subsequent public-private partnerships have resulted in Skyline Plaza and Tower and The Landing. These important projects have been critical to building the market momentum to attract private investment, as well as state and federal funding to Electric Works. By comparison, Electric Works is double the project cost of Harrison Square/Parkview Field, meaning the $65 million in local funding represents only 23% of the total project cost for phase 1. The developers are bringing more private investment as well as state and federal funding into Fort Wayne. And, Electric Works has by far the most significant economic impact.

How will Electric Works create a positive impact on the surrounding neighborhoods and broader community?

Today, the vacant property generates about $125,000 per year in local taxes. In terms of fiscal and economic impact, Novogradac & Co. LLC, an independent accounting firm, projected more than $100 million in local tax revenue over 20 years, and nearly $400 million in annual economic impact for Allen County from the redevelopment of the West Campus.

Beyond the tax and economic impact, the West Campus of Electric Works will:

  • Reimagine and repurpose 700,000 sq. ft. of existing, vacant, dilapidated buildings into vessels for new economy jobs.
  • Support and enhance local innovation infrastructure with a downtown center of innovation and entrepreneurship, in a dense, mixed-use innovation district model to retain and attract talent.
  • Connect the neighborhood and community to health, educational, and cultural services and amenities.
  • Promote accessible, safe, and efficient connectivity to Downtown, the Broadway Corridor and the surrounding urban neighborhoods through its extensive public space and pedestrian-oriented infrastructure.
  • Mitigate and remediate the environmental contaminants affecting the site and return it to the tax rolls as a major contributor.
  • Honor the site’s historical significance as an economic engine for Fort Wayne and Allen County and establish a new downtown district in a high-quality, dense urban format.
  • Provide community programming and educational, health, and recreational amenities to Fort Wayne and regional residents.

Is there a market for this project? Do we really need more downtown development?

Electric Works will introduce unique, creative Class A office space to downtown, compelling retail space, and new downtown multi-family units in a dense, walkable, and amenity rich district. It is this space, and this type of environment, that Fort Wayne needs to remain competitive with its peer cities in the attraction and retention of talent, and to keep pace with its historic growth rate. RTM Ventures and the Fort Wayne-Allen County Capital Improvement Board jointly commissioned an independent market analysis that found that the Fort Wayne market will absorb the proposed office, retail, and residential development planned at Electric Works.

What’s the timeline?

The project financing was initially scheduled to close in November 2019. After securing Do it Best as an anchor tenant plans needed to be changed to accommodate more office space. Then the pandemic has caused delays to the project. Project financing is currently expected to close in late 2020. Construction is planned to take 18 to 24 months with first occupancies in mid to late 2022.

Since it’s an old industrial site, is it contaminated? How do we know it will be cleaned-up and safe?

Until it closed in January 2015, the site was in varying stages of manufacturing and production for more than 125 years. There were documented releases of chemicals over the years, and General Electric investigated the nature and extent of those releases to ensure that there was no harm to workers at the facility or to the neighbors surrounding the facility. Prior to selling the facility, GE had been working with the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) to investigate contamination of soil and groundwater.

As part of the property acquisition, RTM Ventures agreed to continue that investigation, and will enroll the facility in the IDEM’s Voluntary Remediation Program (VRP). The VRP allows the developer to investigate the contamination and develop a cleanup plan, all under strict IDEM supervision, to ensure that human health and the environment are not harmed. After the cleanup plan is implemented and completed to IDEM’s satisfaction, the owner receives a “no further action” status in the form of a Covenant Not-to-Sue from IDEM, indicating that no further impacts to human health or the environment are present at the site.

When will environmental remediation start and how much will it cost?

Environmental remediation is already under way, with removal of lead-based paint and asbestos in the existing buildings. Environmental remediation is projected to cost approximately $7.0 million. The Capital Improvement Board and Allen County have committed $3.0 million, with the developers providing a majority of the funding to clean up and prepare the property for reuse.

I want to expand my business. What are the lease rates?

We have a variety of office and retail spaces available at different rates, depending on the location within the district, the building, floor, view, etc. Please contact us so we can learn more about your needs.

Do you cooperate with real estate brokers?

Yes, we welcome tenants represented by real estate brokers.

I want to start a new business. Is there a place for me?

As a district of innovation, energy, and culture, Electric Works is made for you. If you’re just starting out as an entrepreneur, or an established company that wants to grow, Electric Works will provide the different types of creative spaces and active programming that foster the growth of new ideas and innovative companies.

I want to live at Electric Works. What are the lease rates?

Sign up for the interest list on our website and we’ll keep you informed as the residential opportunities become available.

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