Press release from the City of Fort Wayne:
City takes possession of McMillen Park Apartments
Community will help decide best use for site in southeast Fort Wayne
The City of Fort Wayne officially took possession of the former McMillen Park Apartments near Anthony and McKinnie in the middle of September. The 214-unit apartment complex, built just after World War II, has been mostly vacant in recent years. This summer, tenants residing in 52 units were provided with relocation services and assistance to move to comparable units of their choosing in other locations. With the City’s allocation of Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP) funds, $1.133 million was set aside to purchase the foreclosed property. Funding requirements with NSP direct that the City redevelop the site within ten years.
Mayor Tom Henry said local residents will play a vital role in determining the future of the site – a future which should assist with economic development in the immediate and surrounding area. Last week, City officials from several departments met with residents of Village Woods and Anthony Wayne neighborhoods to share information with the immediate community. Neighbors heard that the Fire Department sees the site as a rare opportunity for specific types of training, and some special units of the Police Department may also train in some of the buildings. Police and Neighborhood Code assured the residents that security measures were being taken and vowed to remain vigilant on monitoring the property as it is readied, ultimately, for demolition.
“We are looking at several different opportunities to engage the community, including partners and investors, in envisioning what this site may be,” said Mayor Henry. “We want to hear their ideas. Resources could be leveraged to help us look at the site as part of the greater area and come up with a holistic approach to address what the community wants, what the area needs, and what capacity exists with potential developers.”
The City has long heard from residents who felt the declining apartment complex negatively impacted their property values and quality of life. City Councilman Glynn Hines (D-6th) is pleased to have a long-time neighborhood concern addressed. “The McMillen Park apartment complex has a historical place in the fabric of Fort Wayne and the southeast community. However, the time has come for us to move forward with innovationsâ€”both commercial and residentialâ€”that reflect the evolution and economic vitality of this neighborhood. The City’s possession of this property is the appropriate next step, and I look forward to working with the administration to identify the best fit for this location.”
At least two developers have expressed interest in participating in future conversations about the re-use of the site, according to the mayor. There is no requirement that the site be redeveloped as residential units, although the end result may be a mixed use project of commercial and residential space.
“We know healthy neighborhoods don’t just happen by accident,” said Mayor Henry. “While the City can’t force investment in a particular area, we are going to play an active role in bringing together the many components of development to help ensure this area is on the path to vibrancy and vitality once again. The residents here deserve no less.”
A follow-up meeting will be scheduled for early November.