Redevelopment Commission notes – 7/20/2009

City of Fort Wayne Seal

The Redevelopment Commission met Monday.

Harrison Square Change Orders

The bulk of the resolutions approved concerned change orders for Harrison Square.  Some were for actual work, others to close out allowances made on various bids.  Those allowances closed out were returned to the project balance.  All told, the 8 change orders resulted in $61,818 in added expenses, $125,302 deducted for a net return into the construction budget of $64,300.  More change orders will be presented over the next few weeks as allowances are closed out and final billing for work completed is received and dictates.

Some of deducts were a direct result of The Harrison’s non-construction.  Once The Harrison, or some incarnation is begun, all new contracts will have to be drafted.  At that point, the sources of revenue will be the same – no matter how much time lapses, however the cycle of accounting will begin again for them.

Some of the increases were due to reasons like: extension of handrails with wood to meet OSHA requirements and in one case, overtime, which had to be paid when the project dictated.  This occurred when something had to be completed in order to facilitate the next step in a process.  There were many challenges in the project with the sequence of construction that had to occur.


St. Paul’s Lutheran Church

St. Paul’s Lutheran Church is in the process of purchasing two properties. Both are at the Barr Street and Jefferson Boulevard intersection.

One is the US Health Works building, which I believe used to be a pharmacy.  At least, that’s what I remember from my earliest memories of Fort Wayne when I arrived in late 1989.  The other property is the parking lot on the other side of the street.

The reason this was before the Redevelopment Commission was for approval of a Brownfield Grant.  The cost is expected to be at $6,200, however, to cover the possibility of more study being needed due to what could be found, the request was submitted for $20,000.  In my notes, I wrote that the US Health Works building had a former gas station on site.  This is the reason for concern and wells will be driven to see what lies underneath the building.  The reason I mention my notes, is I’m not sure I “noted” this correctly.  It could be the parking lot being discussed.  Anyone have any recollections better than mine?

The question you might ask is, why would this area be considered a Brownfield?  I had an email discussion with Gary Lyman, Brownfield Manager with the City, earlier this month regarding this question.  He explained to me that part of a Brownfield is the perception of it by developers and lenders.  The most important, defining perception revolves around the possibility of environmental problems in a site due to previous uses.  With a gas station on site at one time, the possibility of underground tanks, which could be leaking, would certainly qualify this site.  It would also give concern to a potential lender for the project.

In any event, it was reported that St. Paul’s will leave the building as is and put offices into the building.  In addition, the parking area will be turned into public parking.



Last October, the Redevelopment Commission approved a LEDGE agreement with SIRVA.  While going through the paperwork with the State regarding a tax abatement, it was discovered that of the 460 “full-time” jobs that had been specified as being retained as a result of the project, 60 of them were actually part-time positions instead.  As a result, the original agreement was modified to reflect a retention of 400 jobs this year.  In 2010, 440 jobs will be had as a result of the project while in 2011, 540 jobs and 640 by May 11, 2012.

At this point in the year, they are currently 33 above the minimum of 400 jobs at this point.  Also, to date, SIRVA has spent a “substantial amount” in upgrades to the technological infrastructure, with a figure of $3 million given.  SIRVA has also reserved the Grand Wayne Center and downtown Hilton for their operation conference to be held next year here in Fort Wayne.  This will draw people from around the world to our City.


Dimension Ford demolition

Commission President Christopher Guerin asked about the progress of the Dimension Ford demolition.  Redevelopment Executive Director Greg Leatherman responded that the project is progressing.  The environmental clean-up will begin this coming Monday.  Good soil has been brought onto the site from the Parkview North construction site.  They are currently evaluating to see if additional soil is needed.  This raised the question in regards to earlier statements that the stone base of the asphalt parking lot would remain in place until it was closer to begin construction on whatever shape the area would take.  Greg responded that they had originally been qouted a price of $56,000 to remove the stone, however, due to a good deal, the stone was removed from the site for only $10,000.  It’s reuse wasn’t talked about, nor the reasons behind the good deal.  He added that it seemed the right thing to do economically.

At the next meeting, there will probably be a draft presented to the Commission regarding the possible resale of the western, smaller building on the site.  There has been some interest, so Greg feels it is time to see what is out there.  I am guessing it will be an RFP of sorts.  Greg also stated that they will take care to retain some control over what the area could be developed into in the future by placing some covenants in the sale.  Eventually, the eastern side will come under the control of the Parks and Recreation department.  No plans have been discussed publicly by them for possible uses, although wetlands will probably figure prominently in the reuse.


Barry Real Estate response

Greg reported that a response had been received by Redevelopment and that he will be bringing back the issue of non-completion of The Harrison to the Commission at the next meeting.  The meeting date may have to be moved.  Based on what I heard, I’d guess flexibility is needed so that BRE representatives may appear before the Commission to make a presentation.  It was unclear whether this will be a public meeting or executive session.

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  1. US Health Works building was, for all of my youth, Jefferson Pharmacy. The attached area directly south was a car dealership (operated by uncle.) I don’t recall there ever being a gas station. Sound like I can add this to my list of downtown projects to research!


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