FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WPTA21) - The developers of the Electric Works project on Thursday formally announced that Do It Best Corp., the New Haven-based home improvement company, will serve as an anchor tenant for the mixed-use former G.E. campus near downtown.
The Thursday afternoon news conference followed several eventful days for the project, which received board backing to extend key deadlines tied to public financing.
On Wednesday, in his State of the City address, Mayor Tom Henry reiterated his support for the project.
In taking its operation to Electric Works, Do It Best will move hundreds of workers south from the corporation's longtime New Haven home.
"The news was a little disturbing when I first heard it," New Haven Mayor Steve McMichael told ABC21. "You're never happy to lose an employer from your community, but certainly it's much better than locating to a different area to Indianapolis or even out of state."
Do It Best has been part of the local business community since its founding in 1945. It is the largest privately held company in the state of Indiana and the only U.S.-based, member-owned comprehensive and fully integrated hardware, lumber and building materials buying cooperative in the home improvement industry.
“Being at Electric Works will help us be an employer of first choice, retaining and attracting top multi-generational talent not only from here in Fort Wayne, but also on a broader scale,” said Do it Best Corp. President and CEO Dan Starr. “It enables us to keep our roots in the community we’ve called home for 75 years, while at the same time positioning us for a bright future.
Fort Wayne's mayor said the announcement was another big step toward making the project a reality.
"I think everybody is positive it's moving in the right direction and I can't see why they shouldn't continue with this endeavor."
The new Electric Works operation will include warehouse space, office space and more.
Do it Best will utilize about 200,000 square feet in Building 26.
RTM Ventures aims to bring a mix of entertainment, retail, commercial and residential options to the former industrial campus.
Remediation of the property began last year, but the project has not shifted into renovation mode.
This is a developing story. Stay with ABC21 for more information throughout the day.
Watch the announcement here: