June 8, 2022 - Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry today joined the City of Fort Wayne’s Community Development Division and community and neighborhood leaders to highlight plans for continued development and investment along the riverfront.
Phase II of Riverfront Public Space will continue Fort Wayne’s proactive efforts to revitalize its central riverfront by extending the public space from Promenade Park along the St. Marys River west to Ewing Street and east to Clinton Street. The expanded public space will feature an extension of the elevated Tree Canopy Trail, boat docks for private watercraft, universally-accessible bouldering mound, hammock grove, walking trails and landscaping.
A primary objective of this next phase is to continue creating public and gathering space for local residents and to become a regional destination for visitors, tourist and developers and businesses. The goal is to create a vibrant mixed-use district with diverse housing opportunities, employment opportunities, and connect existing hubs and neighborhoods to each other and to the riverfront.
The opening of Promenade Park in 2019 was Phase I of riverfront development. Promenade Park quickly became one of the most popular destinations for residents and tourists. In addition to being a nationally-renowned park, Promenade Park furthered the City’s proven track record of leveraging public funds to catalyze private investment.
Soon after Promenade Park opened, Indianapolis-based developer Barrett & Stokely, Inc. broke ground for The Riverfront at Promenade Park, an $88.7 million mixed-use residential/office building, located across the street from the park. Construction for The Lofts at Headwaters Park, a $67.5 million mixed-use apartment building near Headwaters Park, will begin soon. Barrett & Stokely is investing in both projects which are the latest additions to the more than $1.2 billion that has been invested in downtown over the last decade.
Barrett & Stokely also plans to construct a mixed-use project that would sit on the 2.28-acre site known as “The Wedge.” The site is located northwest of Promenade Park on the north side of the St. Marys River and connected to the park by the historic Wells Street Bridge.
Additionally, the City recently acquired the PepsiCo facility which sits on 6.4 acres, located at 1207 N. Harrison St. The vision for the property is to utilize it to attract new private investments that will bring additional revenue to the city, providing a more compatible use to the adjacent neighborhoods and additional investments in the riverfront public space areas.
“The strong public support has allowed us to continue moving forward with riverfront development,” said Nancy Townsend, Director of Community Development. “It has allowed us to create more public spaces and attract private investments.”
“Investing in our riverfront continues to be a top priority as we work together to make a lasting and meaningful difference for individuals, families, and businesses in Fort Wayne,” said Mayor Henry. “It’s critical to have excellent quality of life amenities in our community, and I continue to be encouraged by the public’s interest and support in making our riverfront a world-class point of destination. We’re succeeding and the next steps in this process are promising and will provide unique opportunities for more public and private projects that will be beneficial for many years to come.”
The next step with Phase II Riverfront Public Space construction involves the approval of a bond to finance the work. The project will be financed with a $32 million lease rental revenue bond. This bond will be repaid using the existing revenue stream provided by the local economic development income tax (LIT) and will cause no increase in local taxes. This financing mechanism was approved in 2017 by the City Council.
The bond approval process will go before the Redevelopment Authority, the Redevelopment Commission and City Council for consideration this month.
Construction on Phase II Riverfront Public Space is scheduled to begin before the end of this year and be completed by the end of 2024.