The growth and momentum in our community continues as the City of Fort Wayne New Markets Revitalization Fund, LLC (FWNMRF) will receive $55 million in New Markets Tax Credits allocation authority.
Of the 230 Community Development Entities (CDEs) that applied for New Markets funding from the U.S. Treasury Department, only 73, or 32 percent, won an allocation. This is the third time that FWNMRF has been awarded an allocation. The first award of $15 million came in 2008, followed by a $33 million award in 2014.
Examples of previous projects supported by FWNMRF include The Harrison and the Plassman Athletic Center at Turnstone. The Landing attracted tax credit allocations from two national CDEs in addition to FWNMRF. In all cases, New Markets Tax Credits leveraged additional investments from the private and public sectors and helped fill a financing gap.
FWNMRF will look to deploy the tax credits over the next two years and already has a list of projects that could be considered.
Tax credits are issued by the U.S. Treasury Department and are designed to spur investment in economically distressed areas. CDEs are awarded tax credits based on their history and, future plans to deliver significant community impact through the sale of the credits to investors. In turn, the proceeds from the sale provide equity to the projects to close financing gaps while transforming communities.
New Markets Tax Credits have played a significant role in key projects that have helped revitalize and transform our community. This new allocation will allow us to continue our efforts to make Fort Wayne and northeast Indiana an exceptional place for all residents to live, work and play.
Very few cities operate a Community Development Entity like the Fort Wayne New Markets Revitalization Fund. This latest allocation provides us with economic development and growth opportunities that can benefit all of northeast Indiana.
I’m also encouraged that construction has started on The Landing, which is a redevelopment project led by The Model Group, a national-recognized developer. Currently, construction crews are doing interior demolition and environmental abatement.
The Landing project includes the historic restoration of seven buildings and the construction of one new building at 111 W. Columbia Street. The project includes 70 apartments and 56,000 square feet of commercial and retail space. The new building will replace the only building on The Landing that is not designated as historic. The remainder of the buildings are all listed on the National Register of Historic Places and are also designated as a Local Historic District.
For nearly a century, The Landing was the central business district of Fort Wayne because of its proximity to the Wabash and Erie Canal and later the railroad. The block is home to many Fort Wayne firsts, including the first post office (1820), hotel (1823), newspaper (1833), theater (1851) and railway station (1853).
The Downtown Trust, a non-profit formed in 2011 to purchase underutilized property in downtown Fort Wayne, bought the buildings and eventually chose The Model Group as the developer. Based in Cincinnati, The Model Group specializes in revitalizing urban neighborhoods and was instrumental in the redevelopment of Cincinnati’s historic Over-The-Rhine community.
In addition to Owner Equity, project financing includes support from the Fort Wayne Redevelopment Commission, Legacy Fort Wayne, City of Fort Wayne Housing and Urban Development (HUD) funds, the Community Foundation of Greater Fort Wayne, the Indiana Economic Development Corporation and the Northeast Indiana Regional Development Authority. The project attracted private investor equity through the sale of New Markets and Historic Tax Credits and received Senior Debt from IFF. Greater Fort Wayne Inc. provides staffing and support for the Downtown Trust.
Construction on The Landing is expected to be complete by summer 2019.
The Landing is unique to our city. No other community has anything like it. That’s why it’s so important to restore this block of buildings and make it a centerpiece of our downtown revitalization efforts.