Council Approves Funding For Riverfront Garage
City Council approved a request from the City of Fort Wayne Tuesday night, dedicating income tax funds for the garage of a planned mixed-use complex as part of the riverfront development project.
Continental Property Group joined the City of Fort Wayne on December 11 to unveil the project, which seeks to bring 150 apartments and 20,000 square feet of retail space to the riverfront. A 1,000-space parking garage is also included.
The City will lease the garage from Continental for 25 years at $1.5 million annually, which results in $37 million generated over the term of the lease. To pay for this, the City met with Council Tuesday and requested the investment of local income taxes and community economic development income taxes (CEDIT).
Fort Wayne director of redevelopment Nancy Townsend says she believes the garage will serve as a catalyst for more private development.
“The parking will be used for events at the Promenade, for events at Headwaters Park, for events at the Grand Wayne Center,” said Townsend. “It’s going to spur a lot of interest in the area.”
Republican councilman John Crawford voted in favor of the request. He says a project like this is why the Council agreed to raise the local income tax rate last summer.
“We didn’t necessarily specify it would be every dollar for this, dollar for that, and at least I always thought we’d need the parking, if it was going to be a successful project,” said Crawford.
“If it wasn’t successful we wouldn’t need parking, but we’re doing it to be successful.”
The request was approved on a 6-2-1 vote. Republican councilman Paul Ensley opposed the funding suggesting those dollars, specifically those from CEDIT, are better spent elsewhere.
“That’s money we could use for roads, it could be used for sidewalks, could be used for neighborhood parks, and we’ll put money to this project not because there’s not money in the LIT, but because we want to use that LIT money and have that for who knows what else,” said Ensley.
Fort Wayne’s Redevelopment Commission approved the project 3-1 on December 11. If funding goals are met, Continental hopes to have the development completed by 2019.