Mayor Graham Richard today was the featured speaker at the Downtown Rotary where he presented a preview of his upcoming 2007 Report to the People sessions.

Mayor Richard discussed the importance of investing in downtown and re-emphasized his support for Harrison Square, a proposal to bring a signature mixed-use development to downtown.

“We are committed to creating jobs and attracting new businesses,” said Mayor Richard. “A downtown catalyst development will enhance economic development opportunities and create a downtown gathering place for our community and region.” 

The initial phase of Harrison Square calls for $125 million of investment, with approximately 50% to be privately financed. No general property taxes would be used as part of the project. The initial phase would include a hotel, residential condominiums, retail, baseball stadium, and parking garage.

Mayor Richard announced the City and Hardball Capital, the owner of the Fort Wayne Wizards, continue to make progress on a memorandum of understanding to move the residential, retail and stadium components of the project forward. Request for proposals on the hotel portion of the project are due back from developers next month. The City expects to select a hotel developer by the end of the first quarter.

“We appreciate Hardball Capital'€™s commitment to our community,” said Mayor Richard. “We have not seen significant private investment in downtown in several years. Our community is in a unique position to have a world-class developer team wanting to make investments in our downtown.”

Mayor Richard encouraged Rotary members to get involved in learning more about Harrison Square. The City has a Speakers Bureau available to make presentations to groups and organizations. Groups and organizations may contact the Deputy Mayor'€™s office at 427-1111 to set up a time and place for a Speakers Bureau member to lead a discussion about the project.

Mayor Richard'€™s first Report to the People for 2007 will be at 8 a.m. Tuesday, February 6 at the Greater Fort Wayne Chamber of Commerce, 826 Ewing St. Last week, the Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors announced its support of Harrison Square.