More Tenants Coming to Electric Works

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(Rendering courtesy of RTM Ventures.) (Rendering courtesy of RTM Ventures.)

The developers of the $440 million Electric Works mixed-use innovation district in downtown Fort Wayne have announced two new tenants. RTM Ventures says an agriculture tech company is planning to establish a presence at the former General Electric campus, and plans are also in place for an on-site cafe.

Muncie-based Balance Holdings Inc., which specializes in Commercial Regenerative Agriculture (CRA), plans to locate one of its Environmentally Controlled Sustainable Integrated Agriculture (ECSIA) systems at Electric Works. Officials say the system combines CRA with raising fish and crayfish in tanks to grow nutrient-dense fruits and vegetables for consumer and commercial sales on-site and throughout the region.

RTM Ventures says the zero-waste system uses 1 percent of the water needed for traditional agriculture and less than 20 percent use in hydroponics. 

"Balance Holdings is the type of company that we want at Electric Works; firms that are exploring new technologies and market-based solutions through strategic alliances and creative partnerships with other businesses, as well as healthcare and education institutions," said Jeff Kingsbury with RTM Ventures. “At the same time, ECSIA’s impact will be felt in the neighborhoods surrounding Electric Works – areas of the city that have struggled with access to healthy food in the past. Sustainable urban agriculture like the ECSIA system ensures Electric Works is a resource for healthy food for everyone – starting with our neighbors."

Balance Holdings has ECSIA systems operating in East Chicago, Elkhart and Wapahani, as well as in Waco, Texas and Haiti.

Additionally, Fort Wayne-based Conjure Coffee has detailed plans for an on-site cafe in the Electric Works Innovation Center. Plans include a cafe, coffee bar and roastery in the food hall and public market section of the new development. 

The 2015 founded company currently has a cafe on Columbia Avenue, just north of downtown Fort Wayne. Owner, Corey Waldron, says the cafe at Electric Works will feature a roasting theater with tiered seating allowing patrons to view the roasting process, along with a tasting room. 

“This is an exceptional and unique opportunity for us, and given the site’s heritage of innovation and making things, we love the idea of the roastery inside Electric Works,” Waldron said. “As a Fort Wayne native, I love the vision for Electric Works and what it represents. I’ve also been inspired by my experiences with food halls and innovation spaces in my travels to other cities — and I’m thrilled about Electric Works bringing those experiences to our region.”

Waldron also announced last week that he had signed a lease to put a cafe and coffee bar at the Foellinger Freiman Botanical Conservatory in mid-November. 

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