Headwaters project gets feedback

February 27, 2019

Festival operators and the developer for a newly proposed mixed-use development on a parking lot just east of Headwaters Park in downtown Fort Wayne say they can peacefully co-exist during any upcoming construction.

That was the upshot of a Tuesday meeting among about 20 representatives of festivals, city officials and Rex Barrett, supervising the project for developer Barrett & Stokely of Indianapolis.

After the meeting, Barrett said the big concern was how to handle street closures and parking during construction so people can still get to events easily.

It’s too early to pin down details, he said, but “just getting feedback” early was important to the company.

“Our questions were answered, and we have no reason to believe they weren’t forthright with us,” said Jack Hammer, executive director of the Three Rivers Festival. “It’s very nice to be included in these conversations.”

Barrett said preliminary work at the site is not expected to start until after this year’s Three Rivers Festival.

Nancy Townsend, Fort Wayne director of redevelopment, said parking alternatives will be developed. One likely will be to allow parking at the North River site and provide shuttles to the venue, she said.

North River is the former OmniSource facility site on North Clinton Street across from Science Central.

Barrett has described the project as a parking garage with 300 to 500 spaces, 200 to 225 apartments and retail space. He said company representatives already have had preliminary meetings with city planning officials.

The developer did not present drawings at the meeting as had been expected. But they will be filed with a formal application within a month, said Thomas Trent, a Fort Wayne attorney representing Barrett & Stokely.

Other agreements remain to be worked out with the redevelopment commission, which owns the land, and approved by appropriate city agencies, Townsend said.

Barrett declined to say what the project might cost. News accounts of a similar Barrett & Stokely project in Carmel place the price of that development at about $60 million.

Tuesday’s meeting was convened by Geoff Paddock, executive director of Headwaters Park. He said it was a way to reassure festival operators that logistics could be worked out.

Last week, the city pulled out of an agreement with Continental Property Group of Wayzata, Minnesota, for a similar mixed-used project at the northeast corner of Harrison and Superior streets. City officials said Continental did not live up to the development agreement in terms of financing.