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North River doesn't draw much interest

The city bought the so called "North River" property in December from the Rifkin family, which runs OmniSource.

Posted: Mar. 21, 2018 10:35 PM
Updated: Mar. 21, 2018 10:53 PM

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WFFT) - The former OmniSource property near downtown Fort Wayne didn't draw much interest.

The city bought the so called "North River" property in December from the Rifkin family, which runs OmniSource.

As part of the agreement, the city let the family off the hook for environmental clean up.

The city is going through a Request for Qualifications process to determine what company will develop the land.

Four companies answered that request before last Friday's deadline.

Proposed projects include everything from a hospital to a tourist destination incorporating the riverfront and everything in between.

"It's exciting to see the city now have control of the property," said city councilman Geoff Paddock who represents the area surrounding the North River property.

The RFQ process is where where developers tell the city why they're qualified to take control of the land.

Great Lakes Capitol is one of the companies who submitted a request to be considered, partly because it is a gateway to downtown.

"It is located in a key position. It's near the riverfront, really just across the street from the riverfront," said Paddock.

Great Lakes Capitol said it want's to incorporate the riverfront into it's project, a mixed use development with apartments and condos on the north side and retail and entertainment venues on the south portion.

Another project hopes to look at the legacy of the property and turn it back into a rail yard. The rail yard was built more than 100 years ago and some of the tracks are still on the property.

Headwaters Junction would include a museum and train rides.

The organization tells FOX 55 it would help draw people into the city's new riverfront development.

And paddock said that's important.

"I'm hoping whatever comes forward here will be respectful to the fact we're near downtown, we're just across from the river, so it will be a river type of project," he said.

He added the new development should complement Science Central across Clinton Street, possibly something dealing with the STEM field, such as health care.

Several council members told FOX 55 IU Health is looking to build a hospital on the site as it plans on opening offices across Fort Wayne.

"this is kind of a unique site so it might so it might be a specialized use," said Paddock.

MKM Architecture and Design also answered the city's request on behalf of a client.

However, it didn't provide FOX 55 details about a proposed project at the time of this writing.

Developers said they expect to know who will actually buy the property from the city sometime in the summer.

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