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Plans underway for old GE building

provided by: Jeff Kingsbury

Photo credit: Provided by: Jeff Kinsbury

provided by: Jeff Kingsbury
Written by: Communicator StaffMay 05, 2017

Written by: Bernadette Becker

Cross Street Partners, Maryland-based development firm, has agreed to purchase the General Electric complex and is now planning the redevelopment of the complex though studies and community conversations.

The GE complex is over 1 million square feet in total, and was built over the course of 100 years.

Preliminary studies are currently analyzing the environmental hazards of the complex and its actual square footage, said Joshua Parker, chief administrative officer and principal of Cross Street Partners.

Developers intend for the GE complex to have; makerspaces, creative co-working, residential and commercial components, restaurants, and generally, “an ecosystem of entrepreneurship,” said Jeff Kingsbury, managing principal for Green Street Ltd, an Indianapolis based development firm.

Conversations will occur this summer to ensure incorporation of the community’s ideas, Parker said. The dates of the community conversations have not been determined but will take place this summer.

Cross Street Partners will work with two other firms as part of a master development team. The other firms are Decatur-based Biggs Property Management and Green Street.

The new project aims to respect the history of the location while still adapting it to fit the community’s needs, Kingsbury said. The project has support from nearby neighborhoods, such as West Central, Hoagland and Masterson, he said.

Parker said he hopes the location will be up and running in late 2019. Cross Street Partners and the other master developers have recruited a team of six local firms and several national firms for the design and construction of the project.

“A project of this size needs diversity in talents,” Kingsbury said.

The project could be delayed by state approval boards for construction and environmental issues, Parker said.

But so far, “the city has been incredibly supportive,” Parker said .

Greater Fort Wayne’s five-project strategy, which includes the Riverfront, the Landing, the GE complex, the arena downtown and the STEAM park, is attractive to talent, Parker said.

Attracting and retaining talent in Fort Wayne is one of the reasons for these developments, said John Urbahns, the executive vice president of economic development for Greater Fort Wayne, Inc. But the main reason for these downtown projects is to stimulate the economy and to improve jobs, wages and opportunities, Urbahns said.

“Downtown is the heartbeat of the community,” Urbahns said.

Development is not limited to downtown, Urbahns said. He also pointed out that, even with the increase in retail space downtown, the area is not meant to be the sole shopping hub of the city.

Greater Fort Wayne hopes to increase residential units downtown by 2,000 in the next decade. The progress of these projects and Fort Wayne’s improvements is one that Greater Fort Wayne plans to share with 10,000 people this year, Urbahns said.