Redevelopment Commission Meeting 1/31/2008

Please note: I am only covering the Harrison Square related issues in this post. 

This afternoon, the Redevelopment Commission met for the first time this year.  It was the first meeting for Thom Obergfell and Judy Wire.  It should have been the first meeting for Casey Cox, but he was absent.  Mayor Tom Henry appeared and welcomed the members of the Commission saying, “I felt it important, starting a new administration for me to take just a couple of minutes to come down and welcome all of you to a new year and an awesome set of responsibilities.”  He went on to thank Karen Goldner, Quintin Dixie and David Wright who left the Commission.  He also welcomed new members Judy Wire and Thom Obergfell as well as returning members Steve McElhoe and Christopher Guerin.  He left out Cox, who was absent.

Next on the agenda was the public hearing for a proposed lease of approximately 2.65 acres owned by Norfolk Southern Corporation.  The area is the lower blue bordered area.  The lease would be for approximately 18 months and provide a staging area and equipment parking area for the Harrison Square area.

Proposed leasing area

No one spoke for or against the proposed lease in the public hearing.  The hearing was closed and the special meeting commenced.

Christopher Guerin read a rebuttal regarding City Councilman Tom Smith.

Approval of November 2007 Claims.
Approval of December 21, 2007 Minutes.

Officers were then elected.  Christopher Guerin was re-elected as President, Steve McElhoe as Vice-President and Judy Wire as secretary.

Of interest regarding Harrison Square were the following resolutions, all approved.

Resolution 2008-03

Allowing the designation of property as an Economic Revitalization Area for B. S. Fort Wayne I, LLC in the Jefferson Illinois Economic Development Area.

The property concerned in this resolution is The Harrison, to be built along Jefferson Boulevard which will house the Retail/Condominium portion of the Harrison Square project.  B. S. Fort Wayne I is a sub-entity of Barry Real Estate.  The resolution read that the project was $20 million dollars.  The application was unique in that the City of Fort Wayne had never received one for a property with both retail and housing uses.  The abatement portion would run 10 years.  Jobs – 125 full-time equivalent jobs are expected to be created as a result of the 24,000 square foot retail area with over $1.5 million in payroll.  Annual average wages are calculated to be over $12,407 which is 102% of the Federal Minimum Wage excluding those jobs projected to be in the food service area, the average annual wages are $19,812 which is 163% of Federal Minimum Wage.  There was then some discussion over whether or not condo owners would be able to take the Homestead Tax Credits and if that would affect the buyer’s decisions.  Another problem to be faced is with the assessors.  Key numbers for the properties are generated horizontally which affects the tax assessments and ultimately possibly the Homestead credits.  It was pointed out that assessments are based on use and not zoning designations.  Some of the retail possibilities listed included: a drug store, gift shop, coffee shop, wine shop and two restaurants.  One of the restaurants listed was “Champs”.  But it was noted no contracts have been signed and this is just a possibility.  The resolution was passed.

Resolution 2008-05 

Approving a proposed lease between Norfolk Southern Corporation, as Lessor, and the Fort Wayne Redevelopment Commission, as Lessee, for land adjacent to the Jefferson Illinois Road Economic Development Area, as Amended, and ratifying the Public Hearing on the proposed lease pursuant to IC 36-7-14-25.2 and Ratifying the publication of Notice of the Public Hearing

Greg Leatherman, Director Community Development, stated that when planning for Harrison Square began, it was noticed that a staging area would be needed because of a “tight” construction area.  They entered into discussions with Norfolk Southern to lease the area (see the above map).  The amount is approximately $1,100 per month.  It was asked if the property would be available for later purchase.  Leatherman answered that Norfolk Southern was very easy to talk with regarding leasing, but not so easy when talking about purchasing the property.  This lease will go before City Council for approval as all leases will.  It was approved.

Resolution 2008-06

Approving a contract for professional architectural services with HNTB Corporation

The contract mainly concerns what it will take to keep the site dry with regards to storm water and ground water.  “A wet basement at the Library is a different thing from a wet baseball field,” stated Leatherman.  It will be used to calculate the number of pumps and size of them needed which is the first phase of the project.  This will cost approximately $28,000.  It was asked if geothermal systems were an option, but it was answered that it wouldn’t make much economic sense.  It was stated that early talks with Barry Real Estate had focused on making the project as “Green” as possible.  There will be some capacity to use storm water from the area in the sprinkler systems.  Right now, it appears the Slurry Wall is functioning properly as there is very little water flow underground.  The pumps are pumping 80 Gallons Per Minute, which is substantially less than we anticipated.  Leatherman stated we should be able to pump a 100-year rain event out in 24 hours.  “When it stops raining one day, you can play the next.”  The resolution was passed.

Previous post: Harrison Square Water Table Issues

Resolution 2008-07

Approving a contract for professional architectural services with LandPlan Group, LLC

This contract, valued at $104,000, is for designing surface and street-scape plans for the entire project.  It was approved.

This was one of the longest Redevelopment Commission Meetings I can remember.  Lots of good questions were asked and it was good to see the Commission off on the right foot!  Keep up the good work!

Related Images:


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