Are We Closer To A Facelift For Decaying OmniSource Property?

By Scott Sarvay
By Jeff Neumeyer

April 25, 2012 Updated Dec 4, 2013 at 11:49 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana’s NewsCenter) – What are the prospects for transforming a downtown eyesore into a shining Brownfield development?

One Fort Wayne city council member is hopeful we will soon see the old OmniSource property come to life.

The Rifkin family, that owns the high profile tract of land on Calhoun Street north of the Saint Mary's River, tells Indiana’s NewsCenter there is nothing new to report about what's going to happen with it.

Mayor Tom Henry's office says it continues in discussions, trying to acquire the property that is near the re-built Martin Luther King Bridge.

It’s part of a key entranceway to downtown.

The OmniSource land is in a state of decay.

City officials for years have dreamed of getting their hands on it, with talk of a grand mixed-use development unfolding there.

First District Councilman Tom Smith says the city needs to be persistent in acquiring the land.

Tom Smith/(R) Fort Wayne Council President: " Absolutely, site control is everything, and I think negotiations are going on, and I really expect to see that happen by the end of the year. We've just got to impress upon them the need to have control of this land, because this is going to be key for all of downtown."

It’s not clear if the negotiations involve the possibility of “gifting” the land to the city, or if the owners are open to a significantly discounted sale price.

Soil testing was done on the former recycling site, and some contamination was found, though none of the parties will disclose the extent of the mitigation required.

A lot of positive property rehabilitation has taken place in Fort Wayne, with the OmniSource tract being the big piece of real estate that remains in the category of "unfulfilled potential".

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