Ceremony Marks Formal Start to Construction on Private-Public Venture
Fort Wayne, Ind. ' Together with the development's private-sector partners, Mayor Graham Richard, local and state elected officials, business, civic and neighborhood leaders, and people from across the city gathered today to break ground on Harrison Square. The public celebration marked the formal beginning of construction for the signature downtown Fort Wayne catalyst project.
Taking part in the first-shovel ceremony, in addition to the Mayor, were principals of the Harrison Square development team, as follows: Chris Schoen, CEO of Barry Real Estate Companies; Deno Yiankes, President and CEO of Investments and Development with White Lodging Services Corporation; and Jason Freier, CEO of Hardball Capital and Fort Wayne Wizards' owner.
Also in attendance were representatives of other key project partners, including: Lincoln Financial Group, the Embassy Theatre Foundation, Inc., Fort Wayne City Council, Allen County Commissioners, Allen County Council, Fort Wayne Redevelopment Commission, Fort Wayne Plan Commission and Grand Wayne Center, along with many other dignitaries.
“Harrison Square is breaking ground for Fort Wayne, because Harrison Square signals our commitment to building a better city,” said Mayor Richard. “We are creating a community that can attract the private investment, the high-paying jobs and the talented workers that will keep Fort Wayne and Northeast Indiana competitive for generations to come. We are nurturing a vibrant downtown that reflects both our pride and our purpose. In partnership with Barry Real Estate, White Lodging Services and Hardball Capital, we are building an exciting future, one in which we all can share.”
“We see Harrison Square as the next step in creating a true, 24-hour, urban environment in downtown Fort Wayne,” said Schoen. “Thanks to the vision of Mayor Richard, the City Council, the Redevelopment Commission and the business and community leaders who have supported this project and to the numerous efforts and businesses that have already begun the process of energizing the urban core, downtown will become an attractive and exciting place for residents and visitors to live, work and play.”
“Today's Harrison Square groundbreaking is a culmination of many individuals' tireless efforts over the last 18 months and a great example of what a true public-private venture is all about,” said Yiankes. “Harrison Square represents another key milestone in the 'reinvention' of downtown and will prove to be a gravity center for not only local and regional families, but for visiting conventioneers and tourists as well. The majority of our competing cities do not offer anything close to this exciting package, and we look forward to working closely with the Grand Wayne Center and Embassy Theatre in ensuring we maximize any and all cross-sell opportunities.”
“This project will only cement Fort Wayne's standing as the best Minor League sports town in America,” said Freier. “With this project we will be able to provide a true first-class experience for families, baseball fans and our corporate partners. We are excited by the many different events we will be able to host at the new ballpark and are committed to working with the Grand Wayne Center, the Embassy Theatre, the downtown hotels, the Downtown Improvement District and the Convention and Visitors Bureau to leverage this remarkable facility to bring conventions and businesses into downtown from the Fort Wayne area and beyond.”
Harrison Square is a signature private-public initiative in the community's efforts to energize downtown Fort Wayne and foster new opportunities to live, work and enjoy the heart of the community. The new community gathering place is expected to spark significant economic growth and new jobs, and enhance Fort Wayne's role as a regional leader.
The $120 million mixed-use development features 30,000 square feet of street-level retail space, 60 residential condominiums, a new 250-room Courtyard by Marriott hotel, state-of-the-art, multiuse ballpark and a 900-space parking garage. Harrison Square is unique in that all of the project components will be completed simultaneously, affording maximum impact. Future phases are anticipated to provide an additional 120 condominium units and 60,000 square feet of retail space.
The location for the initial phase of the development is the area bounded by Jefferson Boulevard and Harrison, Brackenridge and Ewing streets .
Harrison Square is a direct result of the community dialogue, planning and recommendations developed through the Downtown Blueprint (2002), Downtown BlueprintPlus (2005) and BaseballPlus (2006) processes. These endeavors were led by volunteer steering committees and were guided by citizen input and public participation throughout.
The groundbreaking event takes place less than one year from the date the project was first unveiled to the public on December 21, 2006. Harrison Square is on pace to have the ballpark ready for the Fort Wayne Wizard's 2009 opening game.