Fort Wayne Redevelopment Commission was busy Monday.
The commission granted final approval for The Pearl, a $50 million mixed-use, seven-story development signed by Chuck and Lisa Surack that will complement The Bradley, a stylish boutique hotel on Main Street and Harrison Street , which opened its doors last year. The demolition of the existing buildings on the site is already underway.
Residents can expect to see the building, which resembles Madrid architecture, with commercial and event space on the ground floor, residential and parking lots, and “residential/work units” in 18 to 24 months.
Landing in Riverfront I, part of the downtown redevelopment along West Superior Street and Main Street, The Pearl is a TIF (Tax Increment Financing) project. Approving this development allows the city to begin collecting some taxes and making plans for infrastructure improvements like street murals, replacing old water lines and road repairs, Leist said.
“This is another great, exciting project, a mixed-use project,” said Leist. “It builds on the momentum we saw with the boutique hotel right next door. Some of the features that will be present in this building were really born out of the needs of this boutique hotel. Some meeting rooms that they didn’t have will be incorporated into this building, some really exciting new living and working spaces that we haven’t really seen downtown yet, and also commercial space and apartments above that all include parking spaces that don’t exist becomes visible from the outside, making it look like one coherent building.”
But if other purchase deals are approved, they will bring jobs and improvements to Fort Wayne.
The biggest news of the meeting was the sale of 76.8 acres at the corner of Adams Center and Paulding Roads for $768,000 to Exurban, an international metals recycler that plans to invest $300 million in building a facility south-east of Fort to poke Wayne. Approximately 18 to 24 months per year in Fort Wayne there will be 200 more jobs in the area paying between $50,000 and $70,000 per year.
“A lot of American scrap metal is shipped overseas, and facilities like this will keep the product here for reuse,” owners Wes Anderson and Jean-Paul Deco said over a phone. The plant will use nuclear power from AEP and there will be “zero waste,” Leist said. The plant will serve the needs of the “huge market for copper and other metals,” they said. Belgian, German and British interests are involved in the company.
A local company, TJW Industrial, which builds custom air conditioners and cold rooms for food processing, also received approval to purchase 7.64 acres of its headquarters. The purchase price for the property at Summit Industrial Park II is $255,000, Leist and others said at the commission meeting. The company was founded approximately three years ago by Joe Wagner, President, and employs 66 people.
TJW Industrial worked at Dreyer’s ice cream factory in Fort Wayne. Summit Industrial Park II is 133 acres and bounded by Washington Center and Ludwig Streets, according to the city.
The commission approved a $77 million expansion of Grand National Drive in the city’s southwest to connect it to Illinois Road and bypass Rewill Drive to spare neighbors the extra traffic. The project, titled the Illinois Crossing Roadway Extension Project, will include a new traffic light and a new public highway.
Finally, the commission also approved funding to move Comcast antenna systems from above ground, where they hang “dangerously low,” along with McKinnie and Plaza Drive underground. It’s about a 100-foot stretch in a redevelopment area called Village Premier, which offers affordable, off-the-shelf housing, Leist said.