Visitors to Fort Wayne may notice something… There is a lot of construction. The barricades, scaffolding, and cranes can be hard to deal with, but they are all part of the city’s renewal as a point of destination.
One of the most exciting projects is the improved Riverfront. Waters were an essential part of the founding of Fort Wayne. The nickname “Summit City” comes from the days of the Wabash and Erie Canal, when Fort Wayne was the highest point on the run of the canal. These days, the rivers are an essential part of our recreation. The new Promenade Park includes a tree canopy trail, amphitheatre, and lots of public space. While construction on other phases of the Riververfront is still underway, river aficionados can check out Fort Wayne Outfitters for more information on river tours and rentals.
This $30 million project was intended to reestablish the historic Columbia Street as a hub for commerce and nightlife. Originally, the Landing was the road where wagons would unload people and parcels from canal boats and take them to their destinations by land. With this redevelopment, the Landing will be a destination for everything, including dining, retail, and office space. The redevelopment by Cincinnati-based Model Group was completed in 2020.
Superior Lofts, located near the Landing are now available for lease.
The recently completed Ash Skyline Plaza was only part of the story. Skyline Tower was constructed next to the Skyline Plaza. The tower features 124 apartments over 9 floors, and includes 170,000 square feet of office and retail space. The anchors of the tower are Ruth’s Chris Steak House, Proximo, and DeBrand Fine Chocolates. The project was completed in 2018 and apartments are now available for rent.
Provenance Hotels of Portland, an upscale boutique hotel chain, is partnering with Barbara Bradley Baekgaard, cofounder of Vera Bradley Designs, to bring a hotel to downtown Fort Wayne. Provenance would manage the hotel, with ground floor premium dining, and additional meeting spaces. The hotel will bring 120 rooms to the city, and is located at Main and Harrison Streets. The hotel is scheduled to open in April of 2021.
Hampton Inn & Suites Downtown
The new Hampton Inn & Suites in downtown Fort Wayne is now open. The hotel offers 136 rooms and suites, and will provide easy access to the Grand Wayne Convention Center and Parkview Field. The hotel features a Burger Bar and Conner's Rooftop.
GE Campus - Electric Works
The vacant campus of General Electric on Broadway will be getting a large makeover into. Known as the Electric Works, this $300 million mixed-use project will bring in housing, shops, restaurants, offices, a hotel, and educational spaces. The project is being helmed by Cross Street Partners out of Baltimore. Some members of Cross Street were involved in a similar industrial redevelopment project of a tobacco company in Durham, NC, that was highly successful. The renovation would also bring improvements to surrounding infrastructure. Construction should be getting underway soon, now that most funding has been approved.
Many other projects are in the works, all promoting a better quality of life for area residents, and more opportunities for visitors to enjoy different areas of the city. The World Baseball Academy at the ASH Centre will be a showcase destination for youth sports for the entire region.
The Clyde Theatre renovation has brought new life to the area just west of Foster Park, and the Fort Wayne Trails will continue its expansion with new trails connecting all parts of the city. Additionally, the Club Room restaurant and Crescendo Coffee & More have opened up next to the Clyde.
Both visitors and residents can expect big improvements with these changes. Investments made by public and private sector partnerships have led to huge benefits for the community.
This post was originally published in 2016 and has been reformatted and updated.