Mayor States Downtown Interest Is At An All-Time High

Mayor Henry says interest in downtown at all-time high

Wane.com

FORT WAYNE – Mayor Tom Henry is confident business will pickup downtown.  Thursday night, Henry said the amount of interest businesses and people have in downtown is at an all-time high.

“We’re having more and more young professionals expressing interest in moving downtown,” Henry said.

While interest is growing, Henry said the city should be patient while waiting for downtown business to grow.  That includes at The Harrison, which still has empty commercial space on the first floor.

“The Harrison is brand new,” Henry said.  “It’s going to take a while for people to become acclimated to where O’Reilly’s is, and where some of the other businesses are.

Darin Haberkorn, the general manager at O’Reilly’s Irish Bar & Restaurant said business has been steady.

“Mondays could be ten percent of our business on a Friday,” Haberkorn said.  “Thursday TinCaps nights, we’re probably going to do an extra ten to 15 percent in sales.”

Haberkorn doesn’t expect business to drop off when the TinCaps season ends.

“We’re going to be all about football and basketball,” Haberkorn said.  “We want to build on the strong base of customers we already got.”

Haberkorn said the restaurant plans to add projection screens, and possibly more televisions, in time for the start of the college and professional football seasons.

However, there has been one issue for the business.  “A lot of times, [customers] walk right past us because they’ve walked by so many empty windows,” Haberkorn said.

Mayor Henry said downtown development has been something the city has been focused on for years.

“We’ve been trying for years to make downtown a point of destination,” Henry said.  “We’re asking a lot of individuals to take a risk, have some courage, and start their businesses downtown because if it’s built, they will come.  That’s our philosophy.”

Rudy Mahara began the newest business owner downtown.  His beer and wine garden, Rudy’s, opens Friday.

“As more and more businesses open up downtown, we’re getting more and more people not only interested in visiting downtown, but moving here as well.” Henry said.  “Rudy is offering a whole new venue of services.”

The city now waits for others to follow in Mahara’s steps.

“If a lot of these houses saw the same vision that I did, on how to use it as a commercial space as well as residential, this could be another nice niche,” Mahara said.  “It certainly has potential.”

Mayor Henry said the city continues to talk to developers about investing in downtown.  He added Thursday night that he expects a major announcement involving downtown development to take place in the next few weeks.

Original article here (Wane.com)

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Categories: Economic Development, Entertainment, Goverment, Harrison Square, Parkview Field, Retail, Shopping & Dining, TinCaps, Tourism

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