City and redevelopment commission representatives in Fort Wayne were asked multiple questions about the termination of the $440 million Electric Works mixed-use innovation district project Tuesday night.
In early August, the redevelopment commission agreed to terminate its agreement between with developer RTM Ventures to redevelop the former General Electric campus.
The commission pointed to gaps in private funding RTM Ventures were responsible for, and had given them multiple extensions to fill the gaps. RTM representatives say they were very close to getting the funding needed.
City council members sent out a letter signed by all members except Councilman Jason Arp saying that they felt blindsided by the termination of the agreement. They claim there was no communication between the redevelopment commission and council about this termination.
At Tuesday’s meeting, RTM Ventures representatives, along with city and redevelopment commission representatives, addressed the council. Members asked both parties multiple questions about what went down.
RTM Ventures representatives maintain they have all the private funding they need to move forward with construction. They continue to say they felt blindsided by commission members canceling the agreement without prior conversations.
Commission representatives said in the past that although this agreement was terminated, they were open to discussing new agreements with RTM Ventures. Tuesday night though, representatives said they no longer have any trust in RTM Ventures and they want a new developer to take the lead on the project. That did not sit well with some of the council members.
“RTM has put an immense amount of blood, sweat and tears trying to get this project off the ground and to think there was basically only one week that they could’ve easily taken the opportunity to get with the administration and say ‘look we got our financing in place’,” Councilman Tom Didier said.
Councilman Glynn Hines agreed, saying he believes commission members are not telling the truth about when they reached the decision to terminate.
“One thing I’m curious about is when was the decision made to terminate and we believe it might have been much sooner than July 30th or August 3rd board meeting and that they were back room conversations,” Hines said.
Council members still not happy with the answers provided Tuesday are looking to push forward a resolution they say would compel cooperation from the mayor’s office.