The Harrison Reset for November Groundbreaking

By John W. Davis
By Scott Sarvay

June 13, 2011 Updated Jun 13, 2011 at 11:19 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana's NewsCenter) - It's a familiar tone, that may lead to different results.

"It's not just PNC (Bank) who's taken a leadership role in this, other banks are beginning to loosen up the purse strings if you will. But until recently that was not the case," said Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry.

Henry said the project is still moving forward but financing was the reason groundbreaking has not occurred yet.

However, Henry believes a new partnership between local investors and outside developers will help finalize the project.

"The project will be a nice addition to an already vibrant downtown," said Whitley Manufacturing Company President Simon Dragan.

Dragan is a partner in the newly created local investment firm, "New Harrison LLC".

The City of Fort Wayne, Barry Real Estate, Hardball Capital, the Fort Wayne Tin Caps and New Harrison LLC (Mark Hagerman) signed a memorandum of understanding Monday.

The Fort Wayne Redevelopment Commission is expected to sign the agreement at a later date.

The agreement is not a contract but a "commitment of good faith".

"Chris Schoen (Barry Real Estate CEO), I know Chris has had some difficulties here over the last couple of years. There's been some comments, pro and con about the situation but I give Chris a lot of credit for staying the course," said The Hagerman Group CEO Mark Hagerman.

Hagerman and Dragan are partners in the newly created local investment firm, "New Harrison LLC".

"We're continuing to lease the retail space," added Barry Real Estate CEO Chris Schoen.

The 18 million dollar building, will be part retail, part office space and part residential. Originally it was supposed to be condos, now it's 42 upscale apartments.

"But when you have the partners that you have and the effort and commitment of the Mayor to get it done, no was not an acceptable answer and go back and figure it out was what we heard more often that anything," said Fort Wayne Corporate Council Tim Haffner.

Despite Haffner's confidence nothing is officially yet.

However, insiders said the money they need is practically in the bank.

Final contracts are expected to be signed by October 31, 2011.

"Obviously hope to begin yet this year, but there's a possibility we push it into next year. I think we're all optimistic that we'll be able to beat this time table," said Haffner.

Weather permitting; construction could begin by November 2011.

The project is expected to be completed by March 1, 2013.

Meanwhile, money was and still could be the issue. One holdup may be converting million dollar loans - into cold hard cash.

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