Electric Works Developers Float Possible New Arena

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The first phase of the Electric Works project is slated to begin this year. The first phase of the Electric Works project is slated to begin this year.

The developers of the massive $440 million Electric Works project in downtown Fort Wayne say a potential new arena could become part of the project at the former General Electric campus. The Journal Gazette reports Maryland-based RTM Ventures mentioned the prospect in a letter to Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry.

The letter called for more financial support for the project, the first phase of which is estimated to cost $220 million. The developers are seeking $65 million in local funding for the first phase, which is slated to begin construction later this year. They say the project "will not happen" without the public funding.

"We have heard specifically that there is concern investing in Electric Works will eliminate the chances of building a downtown arena," the letter, obtained by the Journal Gazette, said. "Knowing that the Arena is a particular area of concern we have asked our architects to evaluate sites on the campus where an arena could be accommodated and where we could bring other federal, state, and private funding to its development. We have found some potential areas of fit and should the City Administration decide to pursue the Arena again we would be happy to further this analysis."

The Indiana Economic Development Corp. has already approved conditional tax credits for Electric Works, which the developers will not be eligible to receive until they begin the investment in the redevelopment efforts. The Allen County Capital Improvement Board has also approved a $2 million loan for the mixed-use development.

Mayor Henry previously recommended $50 million in public funding for the project, according to the publication. However, the letter asks the mayor for his support in securing an additional $15 million "so that the project can proceed." The developers say without the public-private partnership, the remaining $150 million being invested in the project will not happen.

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