Fort Wayne Tables Proposed Events Center

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(Rendering provided by the city of Fort Wayne.) (Rendering provided by the city of Fort Wayne.)
FORT WAYNE -

Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry says the city will "delay further action" on a previously-proposed downtown event center. In a statement this morning, he said the sports, concert and entertainment project would've required funding from the General Assembly and "I don't feel as though it would be fair to ask for their support during the 2018 legislative session when our community hasn't yet embraced the project."

A $105 million vision for the venue was first presented to the Allen County Capital Improvement Board in February. Henry says he made the decision following input from community and Statehouse leaders throughout northeast Indiana. He says a 2015 study by Hunden Strategic Partners on the arena's potential and a more recent report by Victus Advisors -- both of which can be accessed here -- offered "different viewpoints on how a downtown event center would serve Fort Wayne, Allen County and northeast Indiana."

"As Mayor, it's my job to lead and ensure that we continue the positive momentum and investments we're experiencing in our community. This means exploring bold ideas that can be transformational," he said. Henry named a number of ongoing developments in the city's downtown, including the Skyline Tower and Electric Works, adding "however, not all projects have reached the point where I believe they'd be a responsible investment at this time." The city says it will continue to focus on current initiatives, but didn't completely close the door on the venue, saying in a news release the mayor's decision "leaves open the possibility for event center at a later date."

The plans released in February sketched out a facility that would connect to the city's existing convention center and could be configured to hold nearly 6,000 visitors and host concerts, Fort Wayne Mad Ants basketball games and serve as additional convention space. Henry says "a multi-use event center was envisioned to benefit the region by raising the bar for the Grand Wayne Center by expanding its marketable square footage, allowing us to pursue larger conventions and increasing out-of-town interest. It was our hope that an event center would also serve as the home for several local collegiate basketball teams and our very own piece of the Indiana Pacers, the Fort Wayne Mad Ants. The multi-use concept also would've provided an opportunity to increase top tier, mid-sized concerts, further developing our region as a point of destination."

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