Fresh food market coming into focus for Electric Works - ABC21: Your Weather Authority

Fresh food market coming into focus for Electric Works

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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WPTA 21) -

New information surfaces about plans to include a year-round farmer's market in the proposed Electric Works project, scheduled for the old General Electric campus.

The plans are coming together now--that is, if the development gets off the ground at all.

The venture would be called the Fort Wayne Public Market, and would feature a year-round indoor layout of fresh food being sold by vendors, as part of a larger food hall.

An abandoned structure on the GE campus--called Building 27--is the space envisioned to host the permanent market.

The building would also be home to a culinary training exhibit for student chefs, and a restaurant accelerator for food entrepreneurs to test new concepts.

It could be a big draw to Electric Works.

At the same time, the developers are counting on a commitment from city officials of around $65-million in local public money to help pay for phase one of the overall project, with no guarantee right now city council and the mayor will approve that funding. 

"We all realize that this is going to be a tough row to hoe. It's a million square feet of space that ultimately need to be filled to really make this what it should be. But every journey starts with a first step," said Mayor Tom Henry, who is a big supporter of the idea, assuming the funding hurdle can be cleared.

"I guess based on the level of commitment and support that we've had, really from the general public, but as well from the civic and business leadership of this community, we're very confident we're going to get there," said developer Jeff Kingsbury.

Kingsbury says the developers have private capital lined up, as well as tax credits from state government, in support of the project going forward.

But without the local government money, the project stalls, and city council is being asked to approve its funding by the end of February, limited time for the body to fully review the request.

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