Superior Street Row RFP – from the City of Fort Wayne

In early 2007, Dan Carmody, then Director of the Downtown Improvement District, began talking about a potential new project along Superior Street called Restaurant Row or Superior Street Row.  The project area is the parking lot on the Northeast corner of the Clinton and Superior Street intersection.  The parking lot is bordered by Duck Street on the North, Superior Street on the South, Clinton Street on the West and Barr Street on the East.  Club Soda occupies the Northwest corner of the Barr and Superior Street intersection. 

In the March 13, 2007 News Sentinel, Kevin Leininger wrote:

…As for the proposed “Superior Street Row,” Carmody said a local development team has expressed interest in building a four-story building on vacant city-owned land between Clinton and Barr streets. The building, possibly the first of several on the property, could cost about $3.5 million and would include space for restaurants, condominiums and shops. It could be open as soon as 2008 if all goes well.

But, of course, there’s no guarantee it will.

“There may be some environmental issues with the land,” Carmody said, referring to possible pollution from an old coal-tar plant at the site of what is today the Gas House restaurant.

“And we’re still trying to get state tax credits” that would make the project more attractive to private investors.

From an article in the April 4, 2007 Journal Gazette, Jenni Glenn wrote:

…A local developer is eyeing another project that could generate interest in downtown. John McKay and his brother, architect Michael McKay, are considering constructing a commercial building with condominiums on Superior Street between North Clinton Street and Club Soda, said Dan Carmody, director of the Downtown Improvement District. John McKay did not return calls seeking comment on the project.

Preliminary plans for Superior Street Row call for stores and restaurant space on the street level of the building and condominiums on the upper three levels, Carmody said. The city would need to decide whether to sell its parking lot on the site to make room for the two-phase project.

Of course, Dan Carmody left the DID later in 2007, and no more was heard about the project.  In the Fort Wayne Redevelopment Commission’s April 21, 2008 meeting, Commissioners approved Resolution #2008-35 which transferred ownership, “in name only,” of the Superior Street Parking lot from the Board of Public Works to the Redevelopment Commission.  The main reason cited for the transfer was to make it easier to solicit development proposals for the property. 

In the May 6, 2008 City Council meeting, newly appointed Director of the Downtown Improvement District, Rich Davis was introduced to the City Council as well as an update on the DID’s activities given.  In this meeting, Sharon Feasel the liaison between the DID and Redevelopment Commission stated that she was currently working on a soon-to-be released RFP for the Superior Street Row project.

On June 8, 2008, the RFP was issued with a deadline for receipt of proposals Tuesday, August 5, 2008 at 5:00 pm.  The deadlines for questions passed on July 7, 2008.  Section 13.6 in the RFP states:

A list of teams submitting proposals may be made public, however because this project is designated as a real estate negotiation and contents are confidential, actual proposal contents will not be made public, to the extent allowable by law.

I checked with the Redevelopment staff last week and was told that 1 definite proposal was to be submitted and some interest expressed from other potential developers.

NIPSCO/Don Hall’s Gas House Remediation

From the RFP:

5.3 Masterplans are expected to take into account the following:

5.3.1 Club Soda’s continued operation in the Wayne Textile building. Adequate provision for their customer’s parking needs must be taken into account in the development plan for the remainder of the block.
5.3.2Northern Indiana Public Service Company (NIPSCO) has an agreement with the City of Fort Wayne to use a portion of the proposed development area as a temporary staging site for an environmental clean up project immediately to the east of the Project site. The planned timeframe for the NIPSCO project is approximately December 2008 through May 2009.

There have been some rumblings that the remediation project has been put on hold for year.  I will be trying to confirm this one way or the other in the next couple days.  This would possibly delay any possible start of construction on the Superior Street Row project until after the project is completed.

The only other comment about the above quote, specifically 5.3.1 is the impact a loss of parking would have on the Headwaters Park Ice Rink during the winter.  Parking is at a premium during the ice rink season, specifically November to mid-January and then on the weekends, so this could present possible problems there.

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