FORT WAYNE, Ind. – The Greater Fort Wayne Inc. board of directors today issued following statement:
The Greater Fort Wayne Inc. board of directors has supported the redevelopment of the former GE campus since before RTM Ventures proposed the Electric Works project. All along, the goal of the redevelopment has been to attract and retain employers and talent in our community, and to bring investment and vitality to the surrounding neighborhoods. Redeveloping the campus will continue to position Fort Wayne and Allen County as a community that is investing in itself and equipping itself to attract and retain the jobs of the future.
Assisting local businesses with their expansion plans is a primary function of GFW Inc.’s work. Do it Best is a significant employer in Allen County with more than 400 employees at their world headquarters and more than $32 million in annual payroll. Do it Best provides jobs with wages that are higher than the local average. These are exactly the type of jobs we strive to attract to our community. The loss of these jobs would not only have a negative effect on the employment and tax base, but would also have a ripple effect in the broader economy. Do it Best’s presence supports an additional 492 indirect jobs in the community. In total, employment by Do it Best and the additional affected jobs makes a total tax impact of $2.7 million on local and state revenues annually.Â
The loss of an employer of this magnitude would be unacceptable and would be detrimental to the tremendous momentum that our community has achieved. Delaying this project would impact numerous other businesses as well. Electric Works has lease commitments from Parkview Health, Fort Wayne Metals, Indiana University Research and Technology Corp., Medical Informatics Engineering, Fort Wayne Community Schools, and many others. RCLCO, a national real estate advisory firm, prepared a study for the Capital Improvement Board that indicated a local market need for this type of redevelopment. These companies’ interest in locating on the campus supports that analysis.
We recognize that the development team is still working to finalize their private financing which is necessary to completing the deal. We, the board of directors of Greater Fort Wayne Inc., support the retention of Do it Best and ask that all efforts be made to finalize the redevelopment of the GE campus for the purpose of retaining Do it Best at their preferred location within a timeline that fits their needs.
“This project and the jobs it would attract and retain in our community directly contribute to our mission of building a nationally recognized economy,” said Beth Goldsmith, GFW Inc. board chair. “As a board, we have long supported redeveloping the former GE Campus, and we continue to do so. We stand ready to assist our public and private partners in making this project a reality.”
About Greater Fort Wayne Inc.
Greater Fort Wayne (GFW) Inc. serves Fort Wayne and Allen County, Ind., as its primary point of contact for economic growth. GFW Inc. focuses on prosperity and community vibrancy through economic development, advocacy, programs and resources that support business success, leadership development, graduate retention and community engagement.