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Weigand picked for GE project

Tuesday, May 09, 2017 1:00 am
Weigand picked for GE project

Local firm selected for its reputation

| The Journal Gazette

Weigand Construction will coordinate the $300 million redevelopment of the former GE campus, the local firm’s CEO confirmed Monday.

The fourth-generation firm has managed many – if not most – of Fort Wayne’s most visible projects over the past decade.

Larry Weigand signed the construction management deal with Cross Street Partners, the Baltimore development firm represented by lead operating partner Joshua Parker.

Decatur firm Biggs Development, headed by Kevan Biggs, and Indianapolis firm Greenstreet Limited are partnering with Cross Street on the project. Jeff Kingsbury, Greenstreet’s managing principal, is a Fort Wayne native.

“Given this project’s local historical significance, we realize the importance of a local firm like Weigand leading its construction,” Kingsbury said in a statement. “The entire partnership team believes strongly that Weigand Construction is the ideal contractor for this extensive and unique project.”

Construction at the 32-acre campus is expected to begin in the first half of next year. The architectural design hasn’t yet been drafted, so the management contract was awarded based on experience and reputation rather than bidding, Weigand said.

Weigand said he’s eager to tackle the challenge of reviving abandoned buildings, some that date back to the late 1800s.

“I think, first and foremost, the GE campus has great bones. The buildings were built to last,” he said of the 17 existing structures.

“I think it’s an opportunity to be able to take the iconic look of the GE buildings … then change it and repurpose it into something very useful to our community.”

Weigand Construction, which has annual revenues of more than $150 million, employs 60 professional staff and 200 to 250 skilled trades workers. They include experienced carpenters, laborers, cement finishers and bricklayers.

The firm’s current and previous projects include: Parkview Field, Ash Skyline Plaza, Skyline Garage, Skyline Tower, Cityscape Flats, Embassy Theatre and Indiana Hotel historic renovation, Metro/Fifth Third Building renovation, Sweetwater Sound expansion, Vera Bradley Distribution Center, Maple Leaf Farms headquarters, Lutheran Hospital’s fifth-floor addition, St. Joseph Hospital expansion and renovation, Parkview Cancer Institute, Parkview Hospital Randallia renovation and Parkview Regional Medical Center.

“We’ve been very fortunate to be involved in some of the community’s great projects,” Weigand said.

The construction firm specializes in health care, education, industrial and commercial work. Also among its projects were IPFW’s Walter E. Helmke Library renovation and several buildings on the campuses of Indiana University-Bloomington and the University of Notre Dame.

Cross Street’s vision for the former GE site, as outlined in February, includes creating places where people can work, play, learn and live. But, so far, no leases have been announced. A preliminary breakdown of how Cross Street expects to use the space, depending on market demand, is:

• 342,000 square feet of residential;

• 277,000 square feet of educational;

• 137,000 square feet of retail;

• 131,000 square feet of office;

• 54,000 square feet of amenities.

The developer is inviting the community to offer suggestions for the site – roughly the size of Glenbrook Square and its surrounding parking lots – where 10,000 GE employees once worked.

Even the tentative name, Fort Wayne Electric Works, could change if the public prefers something else.

Eric Doden, Greater Fort Wayne Inc.’s CEO, on Monday praised the selection.

“We are excited by the momentum of this project. Selecting Fort Wayne-based Weigand Construction will support a local business creating local jobs,” he said in a statement. “Weigand has an excellent track record. They will be good partners to help deliver the vision of a vibrant and dynamic GE campus.”

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