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Still no word on developer for North River

The city bought the former Omni Source property in December 2017, with hopes of selling the land to developers.

Posted: Jan. 3, 2019 9:09 PM
Updated: Jan. 4, 2019 10:16 AM

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WFFT) - Just more than a year after the city of Fort Wayne bought the 29-acre "North River Property," it is still unclear who will develop it.

The city bought the former Omni Source property in December 2017, with hopes of selling the land to developers.

Of the four companies asked to submit proposals, only the Continental Group submitted a plan on behalf of Headwaters Junction before the deadline.

"I am looking at hopefully the aspects of IU (Health) here. That's what I would like to see here," said city councilman Tom Didier.

IU Health was one of the developers who missed the deadline that had been extended to August.

A spokesperson told FOX 55 at the time IU Health was no longer interested in the property. However, the next week the health network admitted it was still working with the city to buy the property.

Didier supported buying the property partly because of IU Health.

"It is a great piece of property as you can see the beautiful view of downtown Fort Wayne here," he said. "We just have to wait and and wait and see from the processes."

Some council members were hesitant about buying the property because they didn't know what environmental clean up was needed. Turns out it was a little more than expected.

"There's still the unknown and the market doesn't like the unknown so it doesn't surprise me," said councilman Michael Barranda.

Barranda didn't like the deal from the very beginning.

"We weren't able to make any changes because we had to buy it right away because maybe we had all these buyers that were interested in the property. It just wasn't the case," Barranda said.

Now there is a possibility the city could start the process again and ask for more proposals.

"It is a little slower pace than I would like to have seen happen but I think, all in all, something will definitely develop here in the next couple of years," said Didier.

City spokesman John Perlich said a committee is still reviewing the Headwaters Junction proposal.

A final decision to ask for more proposals hasn't been made.

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