FORT WAYNE - The developers of the massive $440 million Electric Works in downtown Fort Wayne have announced a lease commitment from one of the largest employers in northeast Indiana. RTM Ventures says it is working with Parkview Health to finalize a 10-year agreement for the health system to be a tenant in the mixed-use innovation district.

Parkview plans to open a healthcare clinic at Electric Works, which is being developed at the former General Electric campus, in an effort to address a medically-underserved area of Fort Wayne. The health system also plans partner with RTM Ventures and higher education institutions to develop a dedicated research and innovation space. 

"We believe in the redemptive qualities of this project and its potential to make our region more competitive when it comes to talent attraction," Mike Packnett, chief executive officer of Parkview Health, said in a news release. "We recognize that this project – and others currently underway in our community – are crucial to advancing our region as a destination for business growth, strong neighborhoods and quality of place characteristics that are attractive and unique. This project has the potential to change the perception of Fort Wayne around the country, and what our region can accomplish when we work together. It will build confidence in companies and talent to more strongly consider Fort Wayne when looking at places to expand or relocate."

The health system did not specify how much it planned to invest in its efforts at Electric Works.

Parkview Health is the first major tenant to join Electric Works since the announcement of an economic development agreement between RTM Ventures and the city of Fort Wayne. The city has agreed to provide $62 million in public funding for the project, which requires approvals from various governing bodies. The Fort Wayne Redevelopment Commission gave its approval of the deal last month.

The Fort Wayne City Council is expected to vote Tuesday evening on contributing $10 million from the city's Legacy Fund to the agreement. Councilor John Crawford tells our partners at WPTA-TV he fully supports the measure, saying "if we don't take a chance on this now, we may never get another chance to develop this property."

Councilor Russell Jehl released a statement Monday expressing concern, saying the proposal "substantially depletes the Legacy Fund and offers virtually no rate of return for the Public’s investment." He says a loan from the Legacy Fund, rather than a grant, and a tax phase-in plan would address his concerns.