Electric Works adds co-developer, new local investor to move project forward
FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WPTA) - The announcement of a new investor and a new co-developer could breathe new life into the development of the Electric Works project.
RTM Ventures, the developer that lost an economic development agreement with the city earlier this year, will now work with Cincinnati-based Model Group and local businessman Tim Ash, CEO of Ash Brokerage.
The Model Group is based in Cincinnati and specializes in revitalizing urban neighborhoods and was instrumental in the redevelopment of Cincinnati’s historic Over-The-Rhine community.
Leaders also announced they are revising a new economic development agreement for construction. Just like before, the agreement needs approval from local government bodies.
There is no official timetable just yet, but the City of Fort Wayne and RTM indicated they are trying to get the necessary approvals by the end of 2020.
The Model Group is not a new name to Fort Wayne.
It led the $34 million redevelopment of The Landing in downtown Fort Wayne and is currently working on the $100 million redevelopment of the Arcade in downtown Dayton with lead developer Cross Street Partners. Cross Street Partners is part of RTM Ventures.
Tim Ash serves as CEO for Ash Brokerage, a leader in the insurance services sector and has its national corporate headquarters in downtown Fort Wayne as part of the Ash Skyline Plaza development that also features office and retail space and a parking garage and connects to Skyline Tower that offers housing and dining. Ash is also part of a new project in downtown Fort Wayne, the Ashberry, a mixed-use development to include commercial and retail space and a parking garage.
“I’m so encouraged that The Model Group and Tim Ash are joining this partnership to help bring Electric Works to fruition,” said Mayor Henry.
“Moving forward, our collective focus is for a successful redevelopment project that protects taxpayers and is viable now and in the future. It’s also vital to have Do it Best as the anchor tenant and corporate partner with good jobs in our community as part of the efforts to redevelop the former GE campus.”
The city said the new partnership will also allow for two additional improvements in Fort Wayne.
First, $7.5 million in a New Markets Tax Credits allocation from UACD, a Cross Street Partners affiliate, will go toward the development of the new headquarters for the Fort Wayne Philharmonic Orchestra, which will be located on the Perfection Bakeries site in downtown Fort Wayne.
Second, Tim Ash has committed to reinvest any financial gains associated with his investment in Electric Works to the southeast side of Fort Wayne.
This latest chapter in the Electric Works story could be key in keeping the project’s anchor tenant here in Allen County.
As soon as it became clear Electric Works was in trouble, there was speculation that Do it Best Corporation might leave town and take its world headquarters and good paying jobs with it.
“They have a broad view of where they could locate for the success of their company. We’re just very pleased that right now Electric Works is their best choice, but we do need to deliver on that promise and get this thing moving, so that we can keep them here in the community,” said Kevan Biggs with RTM Ventures.
“Fort Wayne has an opportunity to propel past so many cities. I’ve been involved in five projects downtown, so I’m committed to downtown and the Electric Works project is one I think is going to be the most transformational one I’ve been involved in,” said Tim Ash, the new investor and general partner in the project.
The first phase of Electric Works is 12 acres and 730,000 square feet of office, innovation, education, healthcare, retail, and entertainment uses. With over 60% pre-leasing, Electric Works has other major tenants besides Do it Best, including Parkview Health, Fort Wayne Community Schools, Indiana Tech, IU Ventures, Medical Informatics Engineering, and Fort Wayne Metals.
The $280 million project includes commitments for over $215 million of private capital, federal, and state tax credits.
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