City of Fort Wayne to purchase North River property
The city of Fort Wayne is expected to purchase the property near Science Central that formerly served as the location of OmniSource.
The city announced Thursday morning the purchase agreement to buy the North River property from Calhoun Investments LLC.
The roughly 29-acre property is bounded by Clinton, Fourth and Harrison streets and serves as an important gateway into downtown, the city said. The site was previously used as a rail yard and scrap yard, dating back to 1902. The land has not been actively used since 2006.
“This is a tremendous next step in our ongoing efforts to ensure Fort Wayne is a point of destination for economic development opportunities, job growth and quality of life amenities that businesses and residents desire,” Mayor Tom Henry said in the statement. “We’re looking forward to what opportunities will be possible for private development as a result of the city having control of the North River property.”
Under the purchase agreement, the city will purchase the property in its current condition and assume responsibility for any future environmental remediation, if it’s required. The future use of the property will determine the necessary site preparation or remediation.
Next steps in the process outline by the city include:
- Nov. 13: Fort Wayne Redevelopment Commission to consider becoming the title holder of the North River property
- Nov. 14: Introduction of ordinance to City Council for the city to assume responsibility for any future environmental remediation, if required, at the North River property
- Nov. 16: Allen County-Fort Wayne Capital Improvement Board to consider a $4.63 million funding commitment to the city Redevelopment Authority to purchase the North River property. The CIB funding would be interest-free and repaid as future development warrants. No deadline would be required for repayment.
- Nov. 21: City Council discussion and possible preliminary vote on the ordinance
- Nov. 28: City Council possible final passage of the ordinance
- Dec. 1: Closing between the city and Calhoun Investments
More than a year ago, Greater Fort Wayne Inc. identified the North River property as an ideal location for a future STEAM Park. The proposed park, with a timeline of 2021-2025, was initially inspired by the continual question of how to attract students to the jobs offered in the area. STEAM stands for science, technology, engineering, arts and math.
When the property went on the market in June 2016, the property was priced at $6 million.
Previously, on Oct. 19, Lutheran Health Network spokesman Geoff Thomas told Greater Fort Wayne Business Weekly that LHN had an option to buy the property after other media outlets had reported that LHN was looking to purchase North River. However, the option could not be verified by Business Weekly.