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Electric Works developers ask for, receive yet another deadline extension

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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WPTA21) -- In his State of the City address, Mayor Tom Henry spoke about the ongoing Electric Works project on the former GE campus.

While the developer is set to announce a new anchor tenant Thursday afternoon, the project still needs to clear another governmental hurdle to get the deadline extension it needs to qualify for tax dollars.

"I'm also optimistic that we're going to be able to make Electric Works a reality," Henry says.

Henry may be optimistic about the proposed transformation of the old General Electric campus off Broadway into a hub of housing, food, industry and arts, but others in the community aren't.

Published reports say the new anchor tenant to be announced Thursday afternoon is New Haven-based Do It Best, meaning hundreds of jobs will not be created, but rather moved from the town next door.

The developers of the Electric Works project have repeatedly asked government entities for deadline extensions to get private financing and letters of intent to lease lined up in order to qualify for $65 million in public funding.

Monday, the Redevelopment Commission approved a third deadline extension request by the narrowest of margins, a three to two vote.

However, Wednesday the seven-member Capital Improvement Board unanimously said yes.

"This is a neighborhood improvement project with regional impact that's going to bring thousands of jobs and dozens of new companies to provide a future for everyone. This is very broad based. This isn't your typical luxury apartment downtown or luxury hotel, this is something for everyone that's going to be a real boost and catalyst for the whole region," member Tim Pape says.

Pape says Electric Works will bring dozens of new companies to the site.

But published reports say the new anchor tenant to be announced with fanfare and the governor Thursday afternoon is New Haven-based Do It Best, meaning hundreds of jobs will not be created, but rather moved from the town next door.

Pape would not confirm whether the new anchor tenant will be Do It Best.

"The project has always called for an anchor. I think we have one that is stunningly exciting for Fort Wayne and for the community and the whole region, and is going to be a tremedously additional catalyst this project already offered," he says.

The Allen County commissioners still need to approve the deadline extension, and may do that Friday.

The anchor tenant announcement is slated for Thursday afternoon on the former General Electric campus.

The governor and secretary of commerce are scheduled to attend.

Corinne Rose

Corinne Rose is a reporter for WPTA.

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