TIF zone approved for Electric Works area

August 14th, 2018

By Dave Gong | The Journal Gazette

The Fort Wayne Redevelopment Commission on Monday approved the creation of a new tax increment financing district for the area encompassing the $220 million Electric Works redevelopment project. 

However, a presentation planned for Monday's meeting updating the commission on the status of a development agreement between the city and RTM Ventures, the firm developing the site, was postponed. 

Known as the Broadway-Taylor Redevelopment Project Area and Economic Development Area, the new tax increment financing district could be used to fund $7.1 million in public improvements needed to support the development. The TIF district covers the former General Electric campus and much of the surrounding neighborhoods. 

Property taxes generated within a tax increment financing district can be captured and used for public improvements within that district. If the project is completed, proponents believe it will elevate the surrounding neighborhood. 

“Today, we have to keep in mind that it's a 100-year-old, 39-acre abandoned brownfield site and that it's a blighting influence on the surrounding neighborhood,” said Joe Giant, a redevelopment manager for the city. “In fact, most of the area is considered a qualified census tract by (the U.S. Department of) Housing and Urban Development, which means the average household income in that area is 60 percent or less of the area median income.”

In the area south of the GE campus, the average household income is $20,000 a year, Giant said, 

The update from RTM Ventures was postponed Monday morning. In a news release, city spokesman John Perlich said negotiations are continuing but “it's too early to know when a presentation will be made to the commission.” 

RTM Ventures needs $62 million in public funds to make the project work. In June, a draft version of the development agreement was released by city officials that outlined a series of specific conditions that the developer must meet to secure city funds.

Among the conditions were requirements that RTM Ventures undergo a city review of environmental conditions at the site and provide evidence that its $221 million cost estimate is reasonably accurate. Other requirements included an analysis of potential tenants compiled by RCLCO – the firm that performed a market study commissioned by the Allen County-Fort Wayne Capital Improvement Board – and a strategic parking strategy. 

TIF districts typically last for 25 years.