City Redevelopment Chief Urges Patience, Not Penalties, Be Directed At Harrison Condo Developer

By Jeff Neumeyer

June 18, 2010 Updated Oct 28, 2009 at 5:19 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, IN (Indiana's NewsCenter) --- Fort Wayne's redevelopment director has a message regarding Harrison Square-- don't give up hope on a condominium-retail project there, and in the meantime, don't levy fines against the Atlanta developer trying to get the complex off the ground.

That statement comes as at least three city council members displayed growing restlessness Tuesday night for a crackdown on Barry Real Estate.

City Redevelopment Director Greg Leatherman took some bullets at Tuesday’s council meeting over his handling of the issue.

No work has been started on the $14.5 million condo-retail project near Parkview Field, a complex that was supposed to be complete back in June.

Democrat City Councilman John Shoaff was most vocal about a proposal to cut Leatherman's redevelopment budget, unless the city levied fines against Barry Real Estate.

The measure didn't get the votes to pass.

Leatherman says fining Barry Real Estate would be counterproductive, since the firm has lined up potential tenants to fill half the building.

Greg Leatherman/Ft. Wayne Redevelopment Director: " So, if a time comes, where we're confident that they're no longer giving their best good faith effort to see this project through to completion, there are several options available to us, most likely is a re-negotiation of the management agreement with Hardball Capital and the city, to look at an adjustment of revenues and expenses that flow out of that ballpark."

The city could demand that the TinCaps owners pay a higher percentage of the ballpark's utility bills, or increase revenue sharing from ballpark proceeds with the city.

Leatherman figures if no progress materializes on the condo-retail project by early 2010, the city could have a change of attitude and become more heavy-handed.

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