'Transformative' Development Aims to Break Poverty Cycle
FORT WAYNE - Officials from the state, city of Fort Wayne and Indianapolis-based developer BWI LLC will break ground Wednesday on the first of six multi-use developments throughout the state designed to break the generational poverty cycle. Posterity Heights is a $42 million project on the site of the former McMillen Apartments in the Allen County city. It is part of the two-year-old Moving Forward Program launched by the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority and Energy Systems Network to marry affordability, energy-efficiency and access to personal transportation to create housing for low to moderate-income Hoosiers.
In an interview with Inside INdiana Business, BWI Chief Executive Officer Gary Hobbs says the Fort Wayne effort's first phase, called Posterity Scholar House, will create a supportive environment for single-parent households where the renter is enrolled at a local college. He says it will also include a work force component. "We linking in here with the Indiana Career Council and its plans here around the Department of Workforce Development to target four sectors: advanced manufacturing, information technology, health care and finance," he said. Hobbs says plans also call for early childhood education facilities, electric car sharing options and solar and battery power technology on-site.
The next phase, Posterity Place, will include the Commercial Retail and Training Center, the Housing Life Development and Innovation Resource Center -- a business accelerator and incubator -- and Posterity Place Food and Shops, which will feature a grocery store and space for a federally-qualified health center that will be leased by Lutheran Health Network. The third and fourth phases consist of rental townhomes, called Posterity Village, and Posterity Point, which will be lease-to-own town homes. Plans also call for pocket parks that will be open to the public and community garden space.
The development will also integrate supportive services for family residents through local nonprofit Joshua’s Hand. CEO Cedric Walker says "Joshua's Hand has committed itself to the social side of economic development because no economy can grow without growing people, no matter how much money is spent, they're the most important part of this."
Lieutenant Governor Suzanne Crouch, who chairs the IHCDA board, says "with innovative, energy-efficient technology and support services for single mothers, I have no doubt that Posterity Scholar House will be a model for the way affordable housing is done not only in Indiana but nationwide." Posterity Scholar House is expected to be complete in the summer of 2018.
Hobbs calls Posterity Heights "a transformative development at many levels," adding the development involves "creatively reusing a vacant site in southeast Fort Wayne, to fostering partnerships that are giving single parents a hand up in furthering their education and putting their kids on a path to a sustainable future."