Mayor Reviews 2013's Impact On Downtown Transformation (VIDEO)

By Jeff Neumeyer

December 30, 2013 Updated Dec 30, 2013 at 6:42 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (21ALIVE) --- Taking inventory of the transformation happening in the core of Fort Wayne, we take a look back on how 2013 was a turning point for downtown, and how 2014 could keep the momentum going forward.

When city officials committed millions of taxpayer dollars for construction of the new Parkview Field, claiming it would serve as a magnet for business and housing investment in the city's core, skeptics railed that it would be a waste of money and effort.

But in 2013, the upscale apartment project called "The Harrison", perched outside the stadium, filled up with tenants.

A few blocks away, at years end, more than half the high-end units in the Anthony Wayne Condominium project are now sold.

One of the buyers was Genny Roesler.

" The lights change, the lights reflect off the First Source Bank windows, it is kind of like watching Christmas all year round at night,” said Roesler.

Some of the units run less than $200,000 a piece, but the highest priced ones cost nearly $800,000.

" For Fort Wayne it's a very big price tag, so you can imagine if you transplant that into Chicago or New York, you're talking some huge bucks," said Breck Johnson, who leases the units for BND Commercial.

More high-rise apartments and condos will be coming, in conjunction with the re-location of Ash Insurance Brokerage to the core of the city.

It's all a source of pride for Mayor Henry.

But he's pushing for more, buoyed by recent city council approval of a comprehensive study on use of our riverfronts.

He believes the public sector may eventually bankroll some riverbank development.

" Looking at other cities like San Antonio and some of the others who have invested in their rivers to make them a drawing card for their cities, we'll look at that as well," Henry said.

Henry expects signs of real progress shortly after the study gets wrapped up in about 18 months.

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