News release from the University of Saint Francis:
USF closes on Mizpah Shrine purchase
(September 16, 2014) â€” The University of Saint Francis closed on the purchase of the Mizpah Shrine building on the corner of West Berry and Ewing streets, and half a block at 413 W. Main St. on Monday.
The $600,000 purchase from the Fort Wayne Shrine Realty Co. finalizes the acquisition of downtown properties begun with the purchase of the Scottish Rite Center and adjacent parking lot at 431 W. Berry St. in 2012. The Main Street purchase gives the university the second half of the block holding the now-USF Robert Goldstine Performing Arts Center parking lot.
The Main Street tract, once the site of the Shrine Circus office and a marina business, will continue as university storage and a staging area for renovation of the performing arts center and former Fort Wayne Chamber of Commerce building, which will hold the Keith Busse School of Business and Entrepreneurial Leadership. The former Chamber building at 826 Ewing St. stands adjacent to the Mizpah Shrine office building purchased by the university Monday.
While the university is considering options for the Shrine office building on Berry Street, the Main Street property will eventually convert to parking to support students, faculty and guests of the university’s downtown campus, said Vice President for Institutional Advancement, Dr. Matt Smith.
The university announced its intention to develop a downtown campus with the January, 2012 purchase of the former Scottish Rite Center and parking as the USF Performing Arts Center, now USF Robert Goldstine Performing Arts Center. That fall, the university expanded its downtown presence with the purchase of the Chamber building as a home for its business school.
This spring, the city of Fort Wayne announced a grant of $3 million from its Legacy Fort Wayne Fund for the development of the USF downtown campus. University fundraising is ongoing, with $8.3 million raised toward the $12.3 million project. As the downtown campus develops, the university will move a Music Technology program into the performing arts center, with business, accounting and a new Risk Management and Insurance program to be offered in the business school.
Monday’s acquisition brings the university’s downtown plan full circle, Smith said. “This property supports our renovation and expansion plans and provides eventual parking for the comfort and convenience of those who will engage with our downtown campus. It completes our needs, enabling us to move forward with the exciting possibilities generated by our presence as a downtown university.”
“We are pleased at this latest step in providing innovative education for our students in the heart of Fort Wayne,” said USF President M. Elise Kriss, OSF.
About the University of Saint Francis
The University of Saint Francis, founded in 1890 as a comprehensive university in the Catholic Franciscan tradition, offers more than 80 undergraduate and graduate programs through the School of Health Sciences, School of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Keith Busse School of Business and Entrepreneurial Leadership and School of Creative Arts. In addition to its traditional courses, the university offers focused curriculum for working adults in Fort Wayne, Crown Point and online. Approximately 2,300 students from a broad geographic region attend USF for its academic excellence.