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Developer to purchase GE Fort Wayne campus

February 13th, 2017

By Lucretia Cardenas | Greater Fort Wayne Business Weekly

A Maryland developer plans to purchase the General Electric campus – all 31 acres – and hopes to begin construction on a more than $284-million revamp at the site as early as this fall.

The official announcement is set for 11 a.m. Monday at the GE campus on Broadway.

“This is a big win for the Broadway neighborhood and the south side of Fort Wayne,” Eric Doden, Greater Fort Wayne Inc. CEO, said during a press briefing Friday.

Cross Street Partners, based in Baltimore, plans to redevelop 1.1 million square feet to create a place to live, work, play and learn, Doden said. The preliminary breakdown for the campus is planned as follows:

  • 277,000 square feet for education space;
  • 137,000 square feet for retail;
  • 131,000 square feet for office space;
  • 342,000 square feet for residential;
  • 120,000 square feet for hospitality; and
  • 64,000 square feet for amenities.

The purchase and sales agreement is still being finalized but funding for the project is expected to include about $70 million in federal tax credits, a $92 million loan, $41 million in equity and additional incentives from state and local government entities, Doden said. Also, the city of Fort Wayne has agreed to seek a new tax incremental financing district that will apply to this area, according to a GFW Inc. statement.

Once a final agreement is reached, Cross Street is expected to seek input from the community, secure commitments from future tenants, obtain financing and incentives and complete construction drawings. Construction could begin in the fall of 2017 and be completed in three to four years.

Cross Street has developed historic properties like the GE campus and has a focus on urban revitalization. A brief look at the company’s website – crossstpartners.com – shows several ongoing and recently completed projects. Many of the projects the developer takes on are similar to the GE campus - the main building(s) are manufacturing relics that have sat vacant for years.

Reaching this point in the redevelopment of the GE campus took a collaborative effort between the community, GFW Inc. and local, state and federal officials, Doden said.

“This is the most transformational project I’ve worked on in my career,” Doden said.

According to Doden, GFW Inc. reached out to GE about the property in March 2014. In May 2015, a neighborhood coalition formed to consider options for the campus. The group submitted a presentation to GE in November 2015. A community focus group was led in February 2016, followed by GE issuing a request for proposal in May 2016.

Developers from across the nation submitted proposals by July and GE narrowed down the selection in the fall. Cross Street and GE began formalizing an agreement early this year, Doden said.

U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Indiana, worked with GE and Norfolk Southern so that the entire 31 acres could be included in the purchase. A section of the campus is owned by Norfolk Southern and leased to GE.

Despite all the work that has taken up to this point, Monday’s announcement “is not a ribbon cutting” and “it is not a ground breaking,” Doden emphasized. Once due diligence has taken place and agreements are signed, the developer can begin making more concrete plans. Doden noted that while the developer has expressed interest in community input, the developer will likely use market studies to determine the specifics of the project.