RTM Ventures and Mayor Tom Henry announced that a tentative agreement has been reached to move the Electric Works project forward. The Model Group has joined RTM Ventures as a co-developer for the project and local businessman Tim Ash has become an investor and general partner. The Model Group and Ash will have integral leadership roles in helping ensure the success of Electric Works. In addition, a newly revised economic development agreement will provide the framework for the public and private sectors to meet certain expectations in order to reach a closing to be followed by the start of construction.
When finalized, the agreement will need approval by the local governing bodies responsible for approving the Electric Works project. No official timetable has been established to go before the governing bodies, but the City of Fort Wayne and RTM will begin seeking the necessary approvals as soon as possible to complete a closing by year-end.
The Model Group is based in Cincinnati and specializes in revitalizing urban neighborhoods and was instrumental in the redevelopment of Cincinnati’s historic Over-The-Rhine community. The Model Group led the successful $34 million redevelopment of The Landing in downtown Fort Wayne and is currently working on the $100 million redevelopment of the Arcade in downtown Dayton with lead developer Cross Street Partners. Cross Street Partners is part of RTM Ventures. Tim Ash serves as CEO for Ash Brokerage, a leader in the insurance services sector and has its national corporate headquarters in downtown Fort Wayne as part of the Ash Skyline Plaza development that also features office and retail space and a parking garage and connects to Skyline Tower that offers housing and dining. Ash is also part of a new project in downtown Fort Wayne, the Ashberry, a mixed-use development to include commercial and retail space and a parking garage.
The new partnership will also allow for two additional improvements in Fort Wayne. First, $7.5 million in a New Markets Tax Credits allocation from UACD, a Cross Street Partners affiliate, will go toward the development of the new headquarters for the Fort Wayne Philharmonic Orchestra, which will be located on the Perfection Bakeries site in downtown Fort Wayne. Second, Tim Ash has committed to reinvest any financial gains associated with his investment in Electric Works to the southeast side of Fort Wayne.
The first phase of Electric Works is 12 acres and 730,000 square feet of office, innovation, education, healthcare, retail, and entertainment uses. With over 60% pre-leasing, Electric Works is anchored by the corporate headquarters of Do it Best Corp with other major tenants including Parkview Health, Fort Wayne Community Schools, Indiana Tech, IU Ventures, Medical Informatics Engineering, and Fort Wayne Metals. The $280 million project includes commitments for over $215 million of private capital, federal, and state tax credits.
“Electric Works presents the rare opportunity to revitalize a vacant and blighted remnant of the past by leveraging the historic buildings to create a mixed-use innovation district that will impact the economy of northeast Indiana,” said Bobby Maly, Chief Executive Officer of Model Group. “We look forward to working with Mayor Henry and to again partner with principals of RTM Ventures in our shared mission to positively transform communities.”
“This is a once in a lifetime opportunity that keeps our City moving forward and continues the momentum of positive development that has been taking place in downtown for the past several years,” said Tim Ash. “We know that 2020 has been a challenging year on many levels and getting Electric Works underway is an example of how Fort Wayne is going to be a ‘net winner’ in attracting and retaining talent and creating new jobs. I am excited to work alongside of RTM, The Model Group and the City and I have all of the confidence in the world this project will be a success as our sole focus will be on producing a great outcome for the citizens of Fort Wayne.”
“Tim Ash’s major investments in and passionate commitment to downtown gave us confidence to invest in Fort Wayne,” said Josh Parker, managing principal of RTM Ventures. “With Model Group’s demonstrated success with The Landing, and our work together in Dayton, we have a co-developer that we respect and who shares our values. Tim and Bobby fully support the community’s vision for Electric Works and we welcome them to the team that will deliver the promise of Electric Works to this community.”
“I’m so encouraged that The Model Group and Tim Ash are joining this partnership to help bring Electric Works to fruition,” said Mayor Henry. “Moving forward, our collective focus is for a successful redevelopment project that protects taxpayers and is viable now and in the future. It’s also vital to have Do it Best as the anchor tenant and corporate partner with good jobs in our community as part of the efforts to redevelop the former GE campus.”