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Brotherhood Mutual earns expansion nod

A $15 million office building expansion can proceed if it rectifies a pair of concerns from city planners.

The Fort Wayne Plan Commission on Monday approved Brotherhood Mutual Insurance Co.’s construction of a 62,000-square-foot addition at its 6400 Brotherhood Way headquarters, near Interstate 69 and Coldwater Road.

A skywalk would connect the addition to the present location.

Vice President and Treasurer Matthew Hirschy has said increased business is behind the addition that will rise on the west side of the existing building.

The expansion would result in 102 jobs in the next four years, paying $50,000 on average.

Brotherhood has already started hiring.

The company employs 266 at its Fort Wayne location.

The proposed building location, however, encroaches into a prohibited area, planners said.

Brotherhood said it intends to address the issue. The plan commission would review a plat amendment at a future public hearing and/or business meeting.

The project also shows a NIPSCO easement would interfere with the building addition.

Because there are no underground utilities, Brotherhood Mutual has contacted NIPSCO about releasing easement rights.

If both situations are cleared up – as officials expect – Brotherhood can continue to move forward.

The insurer provides coverage for churches and religious groups.

It sells insurance policies to cover losses associated with property, liability, workers’ compensation, commercial auto and foreign travel. An influx of new policyholders in Western states is fueling the boom.

The 96-year-old company began in Grabill. It sells insurance to more than 40,000 churches and related ministries in 43 states and the District of Columbia.

Last week, the city of Fort Wayne approved phasing in taxes on the expansion. The break will save the firm about $1.9 million over 10 years.

Brotherhood Mutual also has been offered a seven-year, $1 million incentives package by the Indiana Economic Development Corp., WorkOne Northeast and the city of Fort Wayne.

pwyche@jg.net

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