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Hanning & Bean Pulls Out of Ash Brokerage Project

Courtesy
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City of Fort Wayne

Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry has announced that a key partner in the nearly $100 million Ash Brokerage development downtown has pulled out of the project, leaving the building’s residential component without a developer.

The news came Thursday that Hanning & Bean Enterprises removed itself from the Ash project. The developer was in charge of the Skyline Terrace, a 17-story residential component comprising apartments, townhomes and condos.

Current plans for the site include a parking garage, the headquarters for Ash, and retail and residential space.

Bill Bean is vice president of Hanning & Bean. He says the city’s delay in delivering a ready construction site meant the developer would be pouring concrete in the winter. That’s a much more expensive proposition than originally anticipated.

Bean says his company reached a decision point in the development agreement where they needed to leave the project or stick with it for the long haul. While he still supports the Ash development, he says the delay made it more difficult for Hanning & Bean to stay on board.

“It did change the economics considerably,” Bean said. “And with no certainty that wouldn’t happen again, we just didn’t feel it was in our best interest to put ourselves in a position where we had no further outs and we would have been committed one way or the other to the project.”

Credit Virginia Alvino / WBOI News
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WBOI News
City leaders and development partners broke ground on the Ash Brokerage building in June 2014.

John Perlich is a spokesman for Mayor Tom Henry. He says despite the change in partnerships, he’s confident construction will be finished with minimal delay, and without adding to the $39 million investment the city has already made in the project.

“There will have to be some serious discussions about what process we need to go through to have a sound partnership that we feel good about moving forward,” Perlich said. “At this stage, the $39 million is what we’re committed to and believe that’s what we’ll ultimately come in at.”

While the city has not yet taken any bids from developers for the Skyline Terrace, Perlich says its fielding some initial conversations with developers. He says a new development partner could be in place by the end of 2014.

While construction on the parking garage is currently underway, the city expects to reach “substantial completion” on the Ash headquarters by March of 2016.

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