FORT WAYNE - A new study suggests a number of commercial development opportunities could be available in south Fort Wayne. The report from Michigan-based Gibbs Planning Group, which includes recommendations based on spending data, demographics and meetings with local leaders, indicates potential for retail and economic growth opportunities.

It suggests the area just south of the city's downtown could support up to 120 new retail shops and restaurants and nearly 70 more hotel rooms, which amounts to around 250,000 additional square-feet of space. Residents surveyed in the community indicated "a strong desire for sit-down restaurants and coffee shops."

Suggestions from Gibbs include:
-hiring a business recruitment specialist for the area
-creating Tax Increment Financing districts
-continuing residential development and neighborhood stabilization efforts, and the creation -establishing a dedicated business improvement district

Mayor Tom Henry says he is encouraged by the findings. "This analysis provides updated information and recommendations that will assist us in our efforts as we evaluate the best options for action steps to increase retail, restaurant and hospitality growth and access to services for our residents."

You can view the whole report by clicking here.