Assessing demand for Skyline Tower units: apartment association head weighs in

January 27th, 2016

News Coverage:

January 26, 2016

Assessing demand for Skyline Tower units: apartment association head weighs in

By Jeff Neumeyer

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (21ALIVE) --- The demand exists for hundreds of new high-end apartments in downtown Fort Wayne, so says the head of the local apartment association.

But whether those units get gobbled up at the pace the developers want will be a huge question in the coming years.

It’s a timely subject, given the announcement this month that a new residential tower will soon be built next to the Ash Brokerage headquarters.

The last thing anyone wants is for gorgeous new downtown living units to be crafted, then sit empty.

You certainly hope that isn't the situation with the Skyline Tower project, with 124 units scheduled to rise out of the dirt over the next couple of years.

Add the units in Skyline Tower to those being constructed at Superior Lofts and in the CityScape Flats project, and you have 366 units leasing for market rates that will become available before the end of 2017.

A study done by Zimmerman/Volk Associates, Inc. out of Clinton, New Jersey in 2014 determined that downtown could support more than 800 new lofts or apartments in the next five to seven years, including almost 600 targeted to medium and higher income renters.

But don't expect them to lease unless there's a perceived return on investment.

"The people that are paying that much money want the high-end finishes, they want good management, and they want a reliable maintenance staff, things like that. So, I don't envision those properties leasing up really quickly," said Beth Wyatt, the Executive Director of the Apartment Association of Fort Wayne-Northeast Indiana.

The first real venture into a large number of high-end downtown apartments came with construction in the latter part of the last decade of "The Harrison", a mixed-use project beyond the left field wall of Parkview Field.

The most expensive of those units originally listed for more than $2,000 a month.

The price range talked about for the Skyline Tower units fall somewhere between $1,200 and $1,800 a month.

We'll see if that plan resonates with renters, or if those rates will eventually have to be adjusted to get full or near full occupancy.