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State approves $50 million tax credit for Fort Wayne’s GE project

Dec 15, 2017

The first phase of the “Electric Works” is expected to cost more than $213 million. (Courtesy image)

Efforts to redevelop Fort Wayne’s General Electric campus received a huge boost Thursday when the Indiana Economic Development Corp. (IEDC) board of directors yesterday approved a conditional tax credit to support the mixed-use project called “Electric Works.”

Based on an expected initial investment of more than $213 million for phase one of the project, which is expected to begin next year, the IEDC board approved an Industrial Recovery Tax Credit (DINO) of up to the lesser of $50 million or 25 percent of the total qualified investment. This tax credit is conditional, meaning that investment in the redevelopment must be made before the project is eligible to receive any incentive. DINO is intended to promote the reuse of old industrial buildings. The former General Electric campus comprises 39 acres, 18 buildings and more than 1.2 million square feet of space.

“We are grateful to Gov. Holcomb and the IEDC for their support of this transformational project as we invest in the future of Fort Wayne and northeast Indiana,” said Jeff Kingsbury of RTM Ventures developer of the project, said in a statement. “Fort Wayne is creating a nationally recognized, vibrant regional economy, and Electric Works will build on the history of innovation that is the legacy of this community to create jobs, and support Indiana’s economic development strategy.”

DINO credits are available to owners, developers, and certain lessees of buildings located in an industrial recovery site which contains a building or buildings that are at least 15 years old; have at least 100,000 of total square feet; and are at least 75 percent vacant at the time the application is filed. The GE campus is more than a century old.

Elaine Bedel, president of the IEDC, said in a statement that “The reuse of the former GE campus is a bold vision and will be transformational in shaping the future of Fort Wayne.”

A recent economic impact study on Electric Works estimated the project to generate at least $219 million in state tax revenues over its first 20 years. In addition, the project is expected to create more than 2,000 construction and related jobs during its development and support 2,800-plus jobs during its operation. It’s also expected to generate nearly $400 million in annual economic impact once operational.

RTM Ventures is a joint venture of Baltimore-based Cross Street Partners, Indianapolis-based Greenstreet Ltd., and Decatur-based Biggs Development; the team purchased the property in September. The first phase of the project will focus on the west campus and will feature 224,000 square feet of office space; 113,000 square feet of institutional/education space; 83,000 square feet for retail/restaurants and a food hall; 83,000 square feet of dedicated innovation space/facilities; 82,000 square feet of residential space; and 31,000 square feet of amenity/recreational space.

The project is also expected to seek funding from the city’s Legacy fund and $3 million from the Capital Improvement Board for environmental remediation.

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