FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WFFT) — The city of Fort Wayne broke ground on a downtown lot Thursday morning, kicking off the latest Riverfront project.
A few shovels of dirt won’t help construction crews, but they do mark the start of the Riverfront at Promenade Park project.
Investor Rex Barrett plans to build apartments, offices and retail space, taking part in the city’s downtown revitalization project.
“We really believe this is going to be a tremendous spot, and as they complete phase 2 and phase 3 of the riverfront, people are going to want to be downtown,” Barrett said.
Construction is already underway on what will end up being a six-story building costing close to $90 million. Mayor Tom Henry says that this project will help expand on Fort Wayne’s economic momentum.
“We have said over and over again that our city has a significant amount of momentum going for it right now, and I think this is another example of what we’re talking about,” Henry said.
Barrett says he thought he would be able to break ground last summer.
The Covid-19 pandemic slowed down the project, but it hasn’t curbed Barrett’s excitement.
“It’s taken a while, but today it feels like it was worth the effort," Barrett said. "This is about as good as you can get in this part, anywhere in the state as far as we’re concerned.”
Bohn Popp of Aunt Millie’s Bakeries has spent over thirty years in Fort Wayne and is excited by the city’s growth.
"There’s just been a real positive, dynamic energy in this city in the last few years," Popp said.
Popp sees this project as a way to help other businesses in the downtown area.
"One thing that would be nice on our perspective, is there’d be a grocery store downtown one day, and we’ll sell Aunt Millie’s bread in that store,” Popp said.
The building on Superior and Harrison Street should be completed in 2023.
A 900-space parking garage should be ready by early 2022.