Study Shows Strong Support for Electric Works Project

FORT WAYNE, Ind. — In a new public opinion poll, an overwhelming majority of Allen County respondents support the Electric Works project. Poll results show that 86 percent of respondents view the project favorably, with high favorability across all demographics and council districts. When respondents were provided a description of the Electric Works project, favorability jumped to 91 percent.

“The community support for Electric Works is unprecedented for an economic development project in Allen County,” said Andrew Thomas, board chair at Greater Fort Wayne Inc. “It speaks to the impact Electric Works will have in growing jobs, growing wages, and growing the economy while giving new life to one of our community’s historic landmarks. I believe that these buildings have more to contribute to our community. This is an opportunity to elevate our entire region, and it’s obvious that people are excited to see Electric Works become a reality.”

Electric Works is projected to support more than 1,900 construction jobs during the two-year construction phase, host more than 1,500 permanent jobs, and spur $387 million in annual economic impact.

Other key findings from the study include:

  • 67 percent of all respondents support local public funding for Electric Works, with 68 percent of Fort Wayne residents and 58 percent of Allen County residents outside Fort Wayne supporting.
  • 89 percent of respondents believe that economic development is important to them personally.
  • Each proposed component of Electric Works (e.g., public market, incubator space for startup businesses, Class-A office space, etc.) garnered favorable views from at least 83 percent of respondents.
  • 93 percent of respondents were favorable toward Electric Works’ shopping, restaurants, and entertainment venues.
  • 90 percent of respondents were favorable toward a public market at Electric Works.
  • 90 percent of respondents were favorable toward educational space for K-12 and higher education at Electric Works.

The planned public market at Electric Works will merge the Fort Wayne Farmers Market and the Young Leaders of Indiana (YLNI) Farmers Market, expanding the operation from a seasonal operation to a year-round offering.

“At the beginning of the year, we conducted a survey of the YLNI network and found the same overwhelming support for the Electric Works campus,” said YLNI board president Savannah Robinson. “The Electric Works project aligns with our mission to attract, develop, and retain emerging leaders by making our city, and our region, a place full of opportunities for economic, social and cultural growth. This is a once-in-a-lifetime investment that will positively impact the future of our community.”

The study, conducted by Pittsburgh-based Campos Research and Strategy on behalf of Greater Fort Wayne Inc., canvassed 600 residents representing a Census-balanced cross-section of Allen County. Of that total, 400 people completed the poll online and 200 completed the poll by phone.

“(These) poll results demonstrate conclusively that public and private investment and revitalization and renewal are the principal reasons city and county residents support Electric Works,” Marty McGough of Campos stated in the study’s executive summary. “They see the redevelopment as a unique opportunity to transform a decaying landscape into a new and thriving neighborhood.”

The Campos study complements previous research about Electric Works. A 2017 economic impact study by Novogradac & Co. forecasted that the campus will produce $387 in annual economic impact, and a May report by RCLCO Real Estate Advisors showed ample market demand for the campus’ retail, office, and apartment space.

Click here to download the Campos report.

About Campos Research & Strategy

Campos is a Pittsburgh-based, independent, full-service market research and strategy firm founded in 1986. Our clients include private sector companies such as PPG Industries and HarbisonWalker International, trade associations, colleges and universities, and not-for-profit organizations such as Highmark Health and the United Way. Campos is dedicated to helping clients understand and innovate their customer experience and their brand.

About Greater Fort Wayne Inc.

Greater Fort Wayne (GFW) Inc. serves Fort Wayne and Allen County, Indiana, as its metro chamber alliance and 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.