Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry says his administration continues to support plans for the massive $440 million redevelopment of the former General Electric property in the city’s downtown. The mayor says due diligence continues on the Electric Works project, in the wake of a new funding request from developer RTM Ventures. Last month, the developer sent a letter to the mayor request $65 million in public funding for the project, up from the $50 million proposed by the city.
In a news release issued Wednesday, Henry said the $50 million funding proposal "demonstrates our willingness to make a substantial investment to assist in the redevelopment of the former GE property." RTM Ventures said in the letter obtained by the Journal Gazette that the $65 million was necessary to secure the additional funding for the $220 million first phase of the project, slated to begin this year. The developers said the project "will not happen" without the public funding.
"As Mayor, it’s my duty to ask the difficult questions to ensure our community’s finances remain strong now and in the future," said Henry. "Raising pertinent questions and possible concerns aren’t indicators that there’s a lack of support from me and my administration. We simply must look out for the best interests of our entire community. It’s critical for all of us to work together and engage with the public as we continue to determine the most appropriate next steps to keep the process moving forward."
Henry says a working group comprised of representatives from the city, Allen County, the Allen County-Fort Wayne Capital Improvement Board, Greater Fort Wayne Inc. and RTM Ventures have been working on various due diligence items and more work needs to be done. He also outlined some of the ongoing and upcoming steps in the process, including:
- Working with the CIB to secure the market analysis for the project
- Working with the CIB to secure the financial analysis for the project regarding funding streams necessary to support bond financing
- Work with Allen County to secure their financial commitment for the project
- Continue the evaluation of the viability of prospective tenants
- Obtain from RTM Ventures the due diligence items that were previously requested
- After obtaining the due diligence items from RTM Ventures, work will continue with the various boards, public agencies and elected officials to respond to any questions and concerns
- Finalize the development agreement with RTM Ventures, which will confirm their commitments and obligations to the project and the conditions for local funding assistance
Henry says he remains optimistic about the viability of the Electric Works project.