Details Released: Ash Brokerage Plans $71 Million Downtown Project (NBC33 VIDEO)

By Emma Koch - NBC33
By Eric DeFreeuw - NBC33

September 23, 2013 Updated Oct 7, 2013 at 2:28 PM EST

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (NBC33) -- The City of Fort Wayne has outlined details of its monetary commitment to the recently announced $71 million development in downtown that includes a new national headquarters for Ash Brokerage and a residential development led by Hanning & Bean Enterprises.

The total public-private partnerships would result in $51.6 million in private dollars ($19.6 by Ash and $32 million by Hanning & Bean) and $19.5 million being invested by the City of Fort Wayne.

The City anticipates its investment would come from a combination of tax increment financing (TIF) funds through the Fort Wayne Redevelopment Commission, Legacy funds, and support from the Allen County-Fort Wayne Capital Improvement Board (CIB).

The investment is broken down as follows: $11.7 million for the parking garage, $4.3 million for land acquisition, $2.7 million for site preparation, $750,000 for streetscape improvements.

The City’s public investment package will be presented to the Fort Wayne Redevelopment Commission on Monday, Oct. 14. The meeting will be held at 4 p.m. in Room 030 on the Garden Level of Citizens Square, 200 E. Berry St.

In the coming weeks, City officials will come before City Council to request Legacy funds in the amount of $1-2 million. City Council would also be asked to approve bond financing that first will be presented to the Redevelopment Commission for approval in the near future.

Previous Report - 9/23/13
Monday at 1 p.m. Mayor Tom Henry held a press conference announcing plans for a $71 million investment in downtown Fort Wayne.

Shortly after 1 p.m., Ash Brokerage Corporation, a wholesale insurance brokerage partner to insurance agents, financial advisers and career agents, announced plans to expand its headquarters in Fort Wayne, creating up to 115 new jobs by 2018.

The homegrown-Hoosier company, which has grown to 17 locations, will invest $19.6 million to relocate its current Fort Wayne headquarters into a more than 90,000 square-foot facility located at the corner of Harrison and Berry Streets in the downtown area. The project would also include a parking garage and 21,600 square feet of first-floor retail space.

Construction will begin early in 2014 and is expected to be completed within a couple of years. The expansion will allow the company to centralize its core processing into one location.

Hanning & Bean Enterprises plans to construct a residential development, including apartments, condominiums, and street-front townhouses. The development would total 80 apartments (94,000 square feet), 10-14 condominiums (26,000 square feet), and six street-front townhouses (13,500 square feet). There would also be a rooftop park/green space on top of the parking garage. Hanning & Bean’s investment would be $32 million.

"Indiana's business climate is ripe for investment," said Governor Mike Pence. "Ash and other growing Indiana companies know this is a state that works for business. Our growing economy is bolstered by a skilled workforce, robust infrastructure and limited regulations. We passed the largest state tax cut in our history earlier this year, showing companies here and around the world that Indiana is open for business."

The total public-private partnerships would result in $51.6 million in private dollars and $19.5 million being invested by the City of Fort Wayne.

Ash, which currently employs approximately 225 associates in Fort Wayne and more than 315 across the country, plans to begin hiring for sales, new business administration, mobile application development and information technology positions by the end of this year. Interested applicants can apply by visiting www.ashbrokerage.com/share/cm/careers/index.php or contacting an Ash human resources representative at 260-478-0600.

"The Ash team is committed to creating opportunity for our clients, our partners, our employees and our communities," said Tim Ash, president and chief executive officer of Ash. "As a hometown company, we're proud to add to Fort Wayne's growing momentum by generating high-quality jobs in an expanding industry sector. We're equally proud to be bringing nearly $20 million of private investment and a new national headquarters in the heart of the city. Our roots are firmly planted here. We believe our choice sends a powerful message to businesses everywhere about the welcoming climate in the Hoosier State."

Founded in 1971, Ash is a full-service firm that provides clients with access to more than 80 insurance carriers and products such as life insurance, long-term care, disability income, annuities and advanced markets. Ash currently provides services to more than 10,000 insurance and investment professionals in nearly every state in the country. With additional locations across 15 states, Ash will occupy up to three floors above a new city parking garage, with expanded retail and business properties available on the ground floor.

The Indiana Economic Development Corporation offered Ash Brokerage Corporation up to $4,900,000 in conditional tax credits based on its capital investment plans. These tax credits are performance-based, meaning until investments in Indiana are made, the company is not eligible to claim incentives. The city of Fort Wayne will consider additional tax abatement at the request of the Fort Wayne-Allen County Economic Development Alliance.

"The city of Fort Wayne is experiencing unprecedented positive momentum as a destination place for business growth, jobs and mixed-use developments," said Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry. "We're looking forward to working with the IEDC and our project partners in Fort Wayne to build a world-class development in our downtown. Collaborate efforts between state and local government and the private sector position us for future growth and success."

Ash's announcement caps a strong summer for business expansion plans in Allen County. In June, specialty contractor Shambaugh & Son announced plans to invest $4.37 million into its headquarters, creating up to 110 new jobs. This was quickly followed by Ground Effects in July, which plans to invest $3.4 million and add up to 160 new jobs, and Vera Bradley in August, which is planning to invest $26.6 million into its Allen County design and distribution centers, creating up to 128 new jobs.




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