Innovation District Planned For GE Campus

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FORT WAYNE -

A buyer has been identified for the 31-acre former General Electric campus in Fort Wayne. The plans from Baltimore-based Cross Street Partners LLC include commercial, residential, retail and hotel components that Greater Fort Wayne Inc. Chief Executive Officer Eric Doden says could total more than $280 million. GFW Inc. says the redevelopment is expected to be funded through public and private sources and construction could begin as early as this fall. The company expects work to take more than three years.

Doden tells Inside INdiana Business the vision involves an innovation district concept. "What we knew is we had a campus of about 30 acres of 16 buildings that had no activity on it and so it was time for us to work hard as a team to repurpose that into something that is economic value-added," Doden said. "In broad terms, what we see with a $284 million redevelopment is after that you have it either complete or mostly-complete, we do a snapshot for the next 10 years, our typical impact has been five-to-ten times the original investment."

Doden says to-date, Cross Street has been an "excellent" partner, visiting the site and city numerous times, as well as meeting with neighborhood and community leaders in the lead-up to General Electric's selection. Doden says he expects the developer to do more of this kind of work throughout Fort Wayne as plans move forward.

Doden says the investment and potential economic impacts are significant, but the most exciting part for him will be the effect on the people of Fort Wayne and the potential innovations and creativity that will be spurred throughout the redevelopment.

Mid-2016, GE launched its national search for development partners through a request for qualifications process. The property, which used to be the site of thousands of GE employees at its peak, has been abandoned for about two years.

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