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Plan for new data center in southeast Fort Wayne clears first government hurdle, faces public scrutiny

A public notice occupies the corner of a property at Adams Center and Paulding roads. The property will be home to "Project Zodiac", the subject of an annexation proposal by the City of Fort Wayne to allow the location of a Fortune 100 data center on the property.
Rebecca Green
/
WBOI News
A public notice occupies the corner of a property at Adams Center and Paulding roads. The property is the subject of an annexation proposal by the City of Fort Wayne to allow the location of a Fortune 100 data center on the property.

Project Zodiac, the plan for an unnamed Fortune 100 company to build a new 12-building data center campus on the undeveloped land between Adams Center Road and the railroad and south of Paulding Road, cleared its first government hurdle Thursday.

At a special committee session at 9:00 Thursday morning, the Fort Wayne City Council approved the super-voluntary annexation of the property with a unanimous seven to nothing vote with two council members absent. The super-voluntary designation means all property owners in the area requested the annexation.

At 1:00 that afternoon, both the Allen County and Fort Wayne Plan Commissions heard a presentation of the plan for Project Zodiac which officials said will take anywhere from seven to ten years to build and will require a vacation of a stretch of Paulding Road from Adams Center Road to the railroad crossing west of Hartzell Road.

Project officials said the property owners along that stretch have already agreed to sell their properties to the project.

After the presentation, both commissions heard public comment on the project where people living near the property raised concerns about property values going down, noise levels being too high and industrial waste.

The property sits directly diagonally across the road from the Allen County Sheriff Department's Training Facility that includes firing ranges, buildings and the department's K-9 training center.

In rebuttal, project officials said they’ve made adjustments to keep noise levels to little more than a conversational level. Officials applied for a business, technology and industrial zoning district for the property, which they described as "a gentle use in a gentle designation."

Both plan commissions are scheduled to meet later this month. The Allen County Plan Commission will meet Thursday at 1 p.m. The Fort Wayne Plan Commission will meet Nov. 20 at 5 p.m.

Tony Sandleben joined the WBOI News team in September of 2022.