FORT WAYNE, Ind. — A request from the developers behind the $440 million Electric Works mixed-use innovation district in Fort Wayne for an advanced funding commitment from its public financing partners has been denied. RTM Ventures had sought a commitment of $23 million for the project, which the partners said they would not be able to accommodate.
The public funding partners include the city of Fort Wayne, the Fort Wayne Redevelopment Commission, the Allen County Fort Wayne Capital Improvement Board of Managers and the Allen County Commissioners. The group has already committed to provide $65 million for the project, which RTM Ventures will receive when the conditions of an economic development agreement are met and closing occurs.
"The local public funding partners highlighted several areas of concern regarding the request, including the Capital Improvement Board of Managers cannot enter into the requested financial arrangement due to statutory operating limitations, the request represents a change to the current economic development agreement that would require additional changes and approvals, and the request represents a shift in risk to public funding sources," the city said in a statement Monday afternoon.
RTM Ventures sought to extend the economic development agreement in October and received the final approval from the Allen County Commissioners earlier this month. The developer now has until February 1 to secure financing commitments and close on the financing no later than April 30.
The partners say they remain committed to the economic development agreement and "want to continue to work with RTM Ventures to see the project happen and succeed while being good stewards of taxpayer dollars."
RTM Ventures released the following statement Monday evening to Inside INdiana Business:
"Transparency and communication are key in complex public-private partnership projects like Electric Works – which is why we felt it was important to communicate a loan-guaranty proposal from a potential outside investor.
We appreciate our public funding partners thoroughly considering the option and providing a quick response, and we value the continued commitment and support that the Redevelopment Commission, and all our public funding partners, have shown for the community’s vision for Electric Works.
For now, nothing changes in terms of our outlook or approach – we remain committed to finding the right solution to close on the financing and continue the clean-up and renovation of this historic campus.”
In September, RTM Ventures said it had secured commitments for 250,000 square feet of space from tenants, however the developer has yet to nail down a major anchor tenant for the project.