FORT WAYNE – The first thing you notice about The Harrison – whether inside or outside – is the size: It’s much bigger than expected.
Inside, it seems even bigger. What had seemed a tiny, skinny strip of land between the roaring traffic of Jefferson Boulevard and the outfield concourse of Parkview Field has somehow turned into a vast, surprisingly wide building, with a view of the street on one side and a view right into the ballpark on the other.
And the length? It seems to stretch east and west for ages.
Underground is a huge parking garage, big enough to hold a spot for each of the 43 apartments on the upper floors, plus parking for the employees of the Carson Boxberger law firm, which will occupy the entire second floor. Along one side of the garage is a space the owners hope will become a fitness room, featuring floor-to-ceiling windows that look directly onto the outfield.
As the long-awaited building nears completion, The Journal Gazette was given an exclusive tour of the 100,000-square-foot building, even as workers swarm over the structure to meet its Feb. 1 completion date.
Here is what we saw:
The first floor – dominated by street-level windows – will be home to O’Reilly’s Irish Bar, which will take up about 4,000 square feet of space, and 3Rivers Federal Credit Union, which will use 3,800 square feet.
That leaves about 16,000 square feet of space for other tenants. Officials said interest is growing along with the building. In addition to the big spaces and street-level views, there will be outdoor patio seating on the ballpark side, which will add to the atmosphere.
Thursday, construction workers were everywhere, but because crews started the interior work on the top floors and are working their way down, the first floor is actually furthest from completion. But that works out, because the space will be built out for whichever tenants choose to lease it, so it will need to be done last anyway.
The ceilings are high, and combined with the lack of interior walls, the space seems even bigger.
The second floor – all 24,000 square feet of it – will be the new home of Carson Boxberger. There were no lawyers there Thursday, just dozens of construction workers in hard hats and neon yellow vests, putting up steel framing and hanging HVAC ducts from the ceiling. With some of the framing up, you can see how offices will line the windows – and how difficult it will be for those with the best views to be productive on game days.
With the windows in, it’s much quieter than the first floor, but adding to the difficulty in focusing on work will be the patio deck in the center of the floor that looks out over the ballpark.
Breck Geeting, BND Commercial’s sales agent for the building, said at least one Carson Boxberger employee just can’t get enough of the views: He’ll be working on the second floor of the building, but has already signed a lease for an apartment on the third or fourth floor.
Third and Fourth Floors
The top two floors comprise 43 apartments – no condos, officials stress, only apartments for lease – of which 16 have already been rented. All of those are on the ballpark side, which commands higher rents. The two-bedroom, fourth-floor Madison, which is the largest, most expensive unit, features the rounded end, wrap around windows on the west end of the building. It was the first to be rented, Geeting said.
Both floors have the walls built separating the apartments, those on the fourth floor are getting their interior walls and drywall. Wiring and plumbing have been run on the fourth floor, and tub surrounds are about to be installed.
The fourth floor also features an apartment amenity, a 700-square-foot space on the ballpark side for those with street-side apartments to watch games – sort of an upper-level box for those without ballpark views of their own.