This rendering shows what a common area in the Electric Works development might look like.
En route to a revived future, the former General Electric campus along Broadway has a new name: Electric Works.
Developers behind the project to resurrect the 31-acre site south of downtown Fort Wayne unveiled the name at the annual meeting of Greater Fort Wayne Inc. Thursday night at Memorial Coliseum. The announcement also came with updated renderings of what the new Electric Works might look like and the latest word on when the first new occupants are likely to move into it: 2019.
The project, estimated to cost nearly $300 million, is being led by developers CrossStreet, of Baltimore; GreenStreet, of Indianapolis; and Biggs Development, of Decatur.
Speaking at the Greater Fort Wayne meeting, Jeff Kingsbury, managing principal of Greenstreet, said the “Electric Works” name pays tribute to the city’s rich heritage of continuing innovation, as well as the promise of more to come.
Eric Doden, CEO of Greater Fort Wayne, described “Electric Works” as “a very cool play on a lot of things we have going on in our state.”
Doden, who chatted with Kingsbury and Kevan Biggs, president of Biggs Development, onstage at the annual meeting, asked them, “When are you guys going to swing hammers?”
“As soon as we can,” Kingsbury said. They expect to begin work on the site’s 1.2 million square feet of buildings in 2018, with the first occupancy in 2019.
Biggs said one risk facing the project is excessive delays in regulatory approval for work at the site. “We will be asking the community to apply some pressure” to ensure that local and state officials stay on track with timely reviews of project plans.
Kingsbury said market risk – essentially, not being able to lease enough space to make a project work – is a fundamental risk in any redevelopment. However, he said he thinks that the unique appeal of Electric Works will make it a success.
He said that this summer, he and his partners in the development plan to contact neighbors, potential tenants and others to refine plans for designing spaces at the Electric Works.
“This is more a community-building project than a real-estate project,” Kingsbury said in an interview after the meeting.
Biggs later said that the success of the project depends on a shift in how area residents look at the city and downtown development – a “paradigm shift” that he thinks is already happening.