FORT WAYNE - Leadership behind the $440 million Electric Works development in Fort Wayne say private sector buy-in will help the mixed-use innovation district power through a "critical moment." RTM Ventures Partner Jeff Kingsbury says, while organizations like Parkview Health and Indiana Tech have already signed on as tenants, developers need to show "co-investment opportunities" to local private sector leaders as well. Despite last week's claim that a "small group of people" were working to "thwart the progress" of the project, Kingsbury says he believes the effort still has strong public support.

In an interview on Inside INdiana Business With Gerry Dick, Kingsbury and former Greater Fort Wayne Inc. Chief Executive Officer Eric Doden said potential national investment partners want to see the local private sector on board as well.

Electric Works also has letters of intent for tenants including the Indiana University Research and Technology Corp. and  Roanoke-based farm-to-table restaurant Joseph Decuis. Kingsbury says the tenant commitments involve about 225 planned new jobs.

Moving forward, Kingsbury says developers are looking for businesses that want to collaborate with the "eds and meds" that would call Electric Works home. He tells Inside INdiana Business that from the beginning the effort has been "all about the community and our focus on quality of life, education, workforce development and economic development."

Doden says he is also bullish about Electric Works, which he calls "the kind of project that makes you a national economy."

Last week, RTM Ventures issued an open letter on the project's website, saying a "small group of people in positions of influence and power" are "working aggressively to thwart the progress of this project and the potential of this community." Although they did not name any specific individual or group, the developers say the issue has resulted in "skittish investors" and reluctant potential prospects.