FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WFFT)- After 132 years of manufacturing history, Fort Wayne's old GE plant is projected to become an innovation district, restoring the historic buildings and further developing downtown Fort Wayne.
"I feel really obligated and honored to be able to take the past of the innovation and livelihood that has made Fort Wayne so special for so many people, and now give those properties a rebirth into the next generation," said Kevan Biggs, a developer of the project.
Biggs grew up in the Summit City, and has seen the connection within the community to the historic property--connections like John McKiernan.
"I remember when I was a kid, several people use to walk by our house going to work," McKiernan said.
McKiernan is one of many residents that's excited for restaurants, retail, and residential space to bring more people and thousands of jobs to the area.
"I really hope this is going to work. I like the idea to revitalize that area, bring good food and maybe groceries into that area and maybe bring up the level of living," said Connie Mettler.
Developers are still crunching numbers with city council and other contributors, and discussing how the project will be paid for. The total for the first phase of the development is about $214 million.
"The balance right now that we need to come from local is sixty two million dollars.It started at 65 but as you heard a contribution of two million from CIB and one from the county has put the balance at 62 million," Biggs said.
Council member Geoff Paddock said he sees interest from not only City Council. but also the community, including Indiana Tech and Fort Wayne Community Schools.
"The state of Indiana is doing well and the city of Fort Wayne will need to come forward with some kind of a commitment that we're gonna be working out I think over the next few weeks and then presenting at some point to the city council in March or April," Paddock said.