Quimby Village gets a second lease on life

July 16th, 2018

By Linda Lipp | Greater Fort Wayne Business Weekly

The successful renovation and reopening of the Clyde Theatre on the south side of Fort Wayne is spilling over as renewed interest in the rest of Quimby Village, the neighborhood shopping center in which the theater is located.

Commercial real estate broker Neal Bowman, of CBRE/Sturges, said the center is getting a lot of interest from medical providers, traditional retailers and even craft brewery operators who want to piggyback on the $9 million investment in the theater restoration project as well as the “relaxed atmosphere” of the greater Foster Park neighborhood, known affectionately by the last two numbers of its zip code: ‘07.

The potential redevelopment of the former General Electric campus on Broadway, a little north of the shopping center, as the multiuse Electric Works, is also a draw, Bowman said.

Located on Bluffton Road, just off Broadway, Quimby Village was built in the 1950s and its low, blocky design very much reflects that time period. Like the art deco Clyde Theatre, which opened in 1951, the center takes its name from its creator, Clyde Quimby.

The theater closed in the 1990s and it and the center had both fallen into disrepair until Fort Wayne resident Rick Kinney decided to acquire the property a few years ago. Sweetwater Sound founder Chuck Surack and his wife, Lisa, came on board as investors and gave the Clyde renovation and restoration project the injection of capital it needed to go forward.

“Obviously, the combination of funding and influence coming from the Sweetwater machine helped,” Bowman said.

The project also got a $1 million grant from the area’s Regional Cities Fund, controlled by the Northeast Indiana Regional Development Authority.

Stretching out in both directions from the Clyde, the center measures more than 100,000 square feet. Some of its occupants, including La Fogata, a Mexican restaurant; the NAPA Auto Parts and a Salvation Army thrift store actually own their own and/or adjacent spaces in a sort of condo arrangement. A limited liability corporation controlled by the Suracks holds the rest, leaving about 33,000 square feet of space that is now available to lease, Bowman said. “It’s a unique situation.”

The LLC’s holdings include storefronts and the space at one end of the shopping center that housed the Village Bowl, which closed several years ago.

The Clyde opened in May and Bowman and Rebecca Worrell, also of CBRE/Sturges, began marketing the center shortly afterward. The Suracks have specified that they are not interested in leasing to certain types of users, such as tattoo parlors or liquor stores. What they hope to attract are local businesses that would complement the Clyde’s operations, Bowman said.

Users that require parking during the day, leaving the lot open for visitors to the Clyde in the evening, would also work well, he added.

The old bowling alley is a little problematic, however. It would have to be completely gutted to be prepared for another use. And if one is not in the offing, the bowling alley may eventually be torn down to create more parking area.