FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Fort Wayne’s NBC) – Folks who want to see more housing and restaurant options pop up downtown should find encouragement in what’s happening on a historic block in the core of the city.
Construction on apartments and retail stores is moving full speed ahead at “The Landing”, a project that city officials are hailing as a key development downtown.
The work is coming right along, even as one city council member still takes issue with part of the project’s funding.
In early January, contractors are defying chilly weather, pushing ahead with work on the mixed use development, featuring housing and commercial space.
Kirk Moriarty with Greater Fort Wayne Inc. gave us a quick tour Thursday, showing how the project is unfolding.
One of the buildings we walked through didn’t exist the last time we came for a look in the summer of 2018.
The Model Group out of Cincinnati is fashioning 24 apartments in that space, while 70 apartments are being crafted overall on the historic block right next to the old City-County Building.
Four to six new restaurants and some boutique stores are envisioned for commercial space being built out on street level.
“There’ll be a coffee cafe over here on the first floor and then right next door, with the same owner, there is going to be a barbecue type restaurant. It’s just amazing how quickly this has all come together,” Moriarty said, as he pointed to different aspects of the roughly $34-million development.
Fort Wayne city councilman Paul Ensley is not rooting for The Landing to take a hard fall.
But Ensley believes too much public money has been spent to get it off the launching pad.
After the developers picked up a $2.5 million dollar loan from the city Legacy Fund, council was told it would be the last aid sought from the fiscal body.
But this past fall, council got hit up for another $1.4 million for sidewalks, lights, benches and other streetscape improvements, requiring a compromise and some shuffling of cash to get the improvements done.
Ensley asks this question.
“Is this the model we want to use going forward. Do we want to spend millions of dollars of taxpayer subsidies to fund a privately owned enterprise to make money for a private company?” Ensley said.
Moriarty and other community leaders believe residents will be happy once they see and experience the finished product, that could be unveiled by the end of summer.