The Forgotten Projects: Washington & Harrison (Part 1)

Washington & Harrison Concept (South Facing Facade)

Before We Get Too Excited…

I want to let everyone know that this was never proposed by a developer, this concept was the result of a feasibility study that the city of Fort Wayne commissioned in 2005.  The purpose of the study was to create a concept for a use for the Allen County Public Library surface parking lot.  I’m not sure if the city is still pursuing a developer for the parcel in question, as administrations have changed, but I intend to find out.  I have included a few interesting excerpts below:

UPDATE: Part 2 Of This Article Can be Found Here.

The Library Parking Lot Site Was Identified As A Critical Short-Term Site.

Mansur Real Estate Services, Inc. (“Mansur”) was retained by the City of Ft. Wayne (“City”) and the Allen County Public Library to complete a feasibility analysis and development plan for asurface parking lot owned by the library at the northwest corner of Washington and Harrison Streets. The Downtown Action Plan, completed in early 2003, identified this site as a target for future mixed-use development incorporating a parking structure to replace lost surface parking spaces, while also serving the expanded Grand Wayne Center. Since completion of the Downtown Action Plan two years ago, a number of events have happened in the downtown area which has helped stimulate demand for new downtown development. This includes:

1. The State of Indiana has approved the creation of a Community Revitalization Enhancement District (CReED) for the downtown area. This incentive tool allows the City to capture up to $750,000 per year for 15 years in sales tax revenue and income tax revenue which would have ultimately gone to the State. In addition, the CReED provides a 25 percent investment tax credit to private investors who make an investment within a designated district.

2. In 2003, a separate study was completed for the entire Harrison Street corridor and Landing area to analyze the market feasibility for new development in this part of downtown and recommend key sites to target for short-term development activity. The library parking lot site was identified as a critical short-term site.

3. The Grand Wayne Center is nearing completion of its $40 million expansion. When complete in the Summer 2005, annual attendance at the convention center is expected to increase by over 200,000 people per year, with half of all attendees being from out of town. This dramatic increase in the visitor market in the core of downtown presents a sizable market.

4. The Allen County Public Library has begun a $56 million expansion of its downtown headquarters. The downtown library attracts over 700,000 people per year, and the expansion is projected to increase daily traffic by at least 25 percent.

 5. The office building across the street from the site, formerly known as the Bonsib Building, has been sold, and the new owner has made a significant investment towards rehabilitating the property into the Harrison Professional Center, an executive office suite.

Washington & Harrison Concept (East Facing Facade)

The Ultimate Highest And Best Use Beside A Hotel Could Be A Mid-Rise Or High-Rise Office Building Or Corporate Headquarters

 1. While the Harrison Street Corridor and Landing Area Market and Feasibility Study completed in 2003 recommended this site for a future downtown hotel, a separate hotel feasibility report completed in 2004 identified the site located at the southwest corner of Jefferson and Harrison as the most suitable site for a third downtown hotel. In completing this analysis, it is assumed that a new hotel will be built to the south of the new convention center.

 2. Given the location of this site in the core of downtown, the ultimate highest and best use beside a hotel could be a mid-rise or high-rise office building or corporate headquarters. However, given the current office market conditions in Fort Wayne, specifically downtown, it is Mansur’s opinion that such a market does not currently exist, and will not exist in the short-term. Ultimately, the City could elect to do nothing on this site in the short term, and wait until the market for a more intense commercial use (such as a new hotel, corporate headquarters, or office building) becomes stronger. Mansur’s opinion, when completing this study, is that this site represents a strong development opportunity in the short-term to help set the stage for future activity along Harrison Street, and as such waiting for higher and better use to emerge over time would not be ideal.

3. The site is currently owned by the Allen County Public Library, and the library is willing to authorize use of this parcel on the condition that all 120 surface parking spaces are replaced and available for the library to utilize as part of the development program.

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Categories: Goverment, Grand Wayne Center, Housing, Office Space, Shopping & Dining, The Forgotten Projects

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  1. The Forgotten Projects: Washington & Harrison (Part 2) « Downtown Fort Wayne Development - April 25, 2012

    […] Part 1 Can Be Found Here […]

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