City Officials Not Ready To Throw In Towel On Downtown Retail-Condo Project

By Jeff Neumeyer

June 18, 2010 Updated Apr 7, 2010 at 5:50 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, IN (Indiana's NewsCenter) --- The head of Fort Wayne’s Redevelopment Department remains adamant that it's too early to pull the plug on the stalled Harrison Square retail-condominium project.

It was supposed to be finished by June of 2009.

Ten months past that, and we're still waiting on a groundbreaking.

Hardball Capital and Barry Real Estate were under contract to deliver at least a $14.5 million private investment beyond the left field wall of Parkview Field.

Fort Wayne Redevelopment Director Greg Leatherman insists they've faithfully pursued tenants and financing, and that they've done legwork on the possibility of converting part of the project to office space.

All the efforts have produced little in the way of results so far.

The city remains opposed to suing the developers for breach of contract, or for scrapping the retail-condo blueprint.

Greg Leatherman/Fort Wayne Redevelopment Director: " I think the city believes that it's an important enough location to maintain the kind of design that will do what we want it to do, and that is to draw people downtown on weekends and evenings. That means retail business, and to bring people downtown we need a critical mass of people living downtown."

Leatherman is encouraged by the fact, the community has finally started to see a few new housing projects proposed in suburban areas.

City officials also like to point out that the Midtowne Crossing condos and Three Rivers Apartments downtown have near full occupancies.

The Harrison Square development overall has been a huge success.

Beyond the ballpark and new parking garage, a roughly $30-million Courtyard by Marriott Hotel is primed to open late summer.

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