Fort Wayne's Downtown "Energy" Key To Bringing $71-Million Project: Ash Brokerage CEO

By Jeff Neumeyer

December 11, 2013 Updated Dec 11, 2013 at 6:51 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (21ALIVE) --- Is Fort Wayne's positive energy downtown serving as a magnet for new investment?

The driving force behind a major project that is set to be built over the next couple of years in the heart of the city, says momentum from revitalization in that area helped convince him to take the plunge and move his company headquarters downtown.

Ash Brokerage, a wholesale insurance brokerage, plans to move its 225 current employees to a sprawling complex along Harrison near Wayne Street.

Ash even plans to add 115 people to its Fort Wayne work force by 2018.

The property in question is mostly a surface parking lot right now, but groundbreaking on the $71-million development will happen in the spring.

Ash is excited to put down roots in the core of his hometown, but it has been a daunting task creating and following his dream.

" The amount of effort and work and planning that goes into it, I have to tell you, I kiddingly tell our staff it's like a second job, a second full-time job, but it's worth it," Tim Ash said.

The project is going to be much more than the headquarters for Ash Brokerage.

Around 50,000 square feet of space is reserved for restaurants and other retail tenants that will hopefully locate in the complex.

In a 15-story tower just to the west, facing Webster Street, there will be townhouses, apartments and condos that will add to the suddenly attractive inventory of downtown living units, that five years ago, few people would have thought had a prayer of taking hold.

The residential building should be done sometime in 2016.

The Ash office and retail building should be complete in August or September of 2015.

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