Council members surprised only one group submitted plans for North River

The city bought the nearly 30 acres just north of downtown in December after contentious debate with city council members.

Posted: Aug. 20, 2018 9:11 PM
Updated: Aug. 21, 2018 8:28 AM

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WFFT) - Only one company submitted plans to develop the "North River" property before last week's deadline.

The city bought the nearly 30 acres just north of downtown in December after contentious debate with city council members, who couldn't see environmental studies done 10 years ago.

City leaders said many groups would be interested in developing the land near the riverfront, but only for companies submitted their qualifications, only of those submitted plans.

The lack of proposals surprised some city council members.

"I would hope there is more than one proposal," said Tom Didier, who was council president at the time of the purchase.

"It looked as though this would be pretty prime ground for a lot of development," said Geoff Paddock, who represents the property at Clinton and Fourth streets.

Continental Property Group, working with local non-profit Headwaters Junction, is the group who submitted plans.

Those plans include creating a railroad-themed attraction on the land that was once a railyard.

"It brings back a lot of nostalgia. It has the opportunity to not only develop this piece of ground, but I think to add a component of retail," Paddock said.

IU Health was one of the more talked about developments on the land, Brian Bauer met with some council members before they voted on the property, expressing plans for a hospital on the land.

However in an email to FOX 55 Monday, an IU Health spokesman said "IU Health's plans for expanding in the Fort Wayne market do not involve pursuing a development bid for the property."

"This maybe one Request for Proposal but it maybe a number of things involved in it," Paddock said.

Didier said he's hopeful that's the case, but he can get on board with Headwaters Junction.

The city will have to do any environmental remediation needed on the land as part of the deal signed in December.

It's still not clear how much remediation will be needed or how much that will cost.

The city previously said it hopes to select a proposal by the end of the year with construction beginning in 2019.

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