Illinois-based More Brewing Co. is looking to invest $6 million to build a two-story restaurant and brewery at the North River site in Fort Wayne, the city announced Monday. The project would be the first at North River, a site that previously housed an OmniSource metal recycling plant and has not been used since 2006.
The 16,000-square-foot building would be built just north of Fort Wayne’s riverfront space near the intersection of Fourth and Calhoun streets.
“Being able to advance a significant development at the North River site is a tremendous win for our community,” Deputy Mayor Karl Bandemer said in written remarks. “Successful public-private partnerships have positioned Fort Wayne as a leader in bringing new and unique amenities for residents, visitors, and businesses to enjoy.”
The city is asking the Fort Wayne Redevelopment Commission to approve an economic development agreement to help the project move forward.
“We are confident that, while this is the first private development announced for the site, there are several more projects that will follow in the near future,” Deputy Director of Redevelopment Jonathan Leist said in a news release. “All of the potential projects fall in line with the community’s vision for an active, dynamic, mixed-use site on the north side of the river.”
Additionally, the city will seek approvals for site preparations and infrastructure improvements – including street, water and sewer – which it says will facilitate additional private development at the North River site.
The 29-acre North River property dates back to 1902 and was once used as a rail yard along with other industrial uses. The city’s redevelopment commission acquired the property in 2017 for $4.6 million.
Last year, the city detailed plans for a $150 million project at North River that included a possible soccer stadium, hotel and new housing.
A spokesperson for the city tells Inside INdiana Business discussions with other developers for individual projects at the rest of the 29-acre site are ongoing.
“Current discussions include a hotel, fieldhouse, office space and apartments,” the spokesperson said. “The overall theme of the development remains focused on youth and/or professional sports as had been previously announced.”
More Brewing, located in the Chicago suburb of Villa Park, has two locations in the Chicago area. Co-founder Sunny Patel says the brewery plans to open in conjunction with the completion of the second phase of the Riverfront Fort Wayne project.
Riverfront Phase II is slated to get underway this year and be complete in 2024. The second phase includes extending the public space from Promenade Park, which opened in 2019 as part of the project’s first phase, along the St. Mary’s River, as well as an extension of the elevated Tree Canopy Trail, boat docks for private watercraft, and walking trails.
The city says the project was a “significant factor” in More Brewing’s decision to locate in Fort Wayne.