Developer has proposal for 66 acres near airport

September 10th, 2018

By Rosa Salter Rodriguez | The Journal Gazette

A Minnesota development company already involved in two high-profile Fort Wayne projects is now proposing an industrial park on about 66 acres of vacant land near Fort Wayne International Airport.

The property is owned by the Fort Wayne-Allen County Airport Authority. But talks are underway for an acquisition by Continental Property Group, Wayzata, Minnesota, Scott Hinderman, executive director of airports, confirmed Thursday.

Continental is behind a $62 million Riverfront-area mixed-use development in Fort Wayne. That project includes a 1,000-space parking garage, 150 residential units and retail space. 

Last month, Continental was the sole party responding on time to a city request for proposals for developing the North River property. That land, on North Clinton Street across from Science Central, was formerly occupied by an OmniSource scrap-metal processing facility.

Continental proposed developing another mixed-use project anchored by the proposed Headwaters Junction railroad history attraction.

According to Hinderman, the airport authority land is part of a proposed economic development area. The 223-acre Airport Expressway South EDA in Pleasant Township will have a public hearing at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday during a meeting of the Allen County Redevelopment Commission.

The hearing is its last step before an adoption vote is taken, likely to be at Tuesday’s meeting, said Elissa McGauley, director of redevelopment.

Designation as an EDA will create a way to allow any increase in property taxes caused by development to be used to provide public infrastructure in the area or make the site more attractive to potential investors, she said.

For the airport authority’s land, Continental proposes three buildings and a cluster of three smaller buildings. The development’s address is 9600 Smith Road. Smith Road would provide access.

According to the site plan, two of the three buildings have 150,000 square feet and one has 135,000 square feet. The cluster of buildings, shown as long and narrow on the plan, have 17,000, 30,000 and 32,000 square feet.

No end user is identified on the plan. But Hinderman said “Clearly, they (Continental) have ideas on how they could develop this land in their mind.”

Traci Tomas, Continental’s president, did not return a telephone call seeking more information Thursday.

The Allen County Plan Commission will have a public hearing on the project’s primary development plan at 1 p.m. Oct. 11 in Room 35 of Citizens Square, 200 E. Berry St.