FORT WAYNE – Fort Wayne could soon be home to a new special taxing district, this one designed to spur the construction of a spec building.
The Fort Wayne Redevelopment Commission voted unanimously this week to begin the approval process for the Hatfield Road Economic Development Area, which covers about 28 acres south of the states transportation facility on Hatfield Road and a mobile home park that fronts Goshen Road and Coliseum Boulevard.
If approved, the tax increment finance district will establish 2013 as a base year and then use the new property taxes charged on improvements made within the district after the base year to pay for the infrastructure that helped make the improvements possible.
In this case, the infrastructure planned is a building – more specifically a spec building, where a building is built without a tenant in mind in hopes that one will want it soon after completion.
Economic development officials have for several years been pushing for speculative buildings, saying they are desperately needed for businesses looking to locate here that want a shell building ready to move into rather than bare ground to build on.
It would be a 75,000-square-foot industrial building with at least 30-foot ceilings and some office space. It would be expandable to 150,000 square feet.
Redevelopment commission member Greg Leatherman said a development agreement with the property owners, Klink Group, will be hammered out later, but the deal will likely limit the amount payable toward the building at $875,000. The cost of the building is estimated at about $3.5 million.
The taxing district fund could also pay for road work to improve access to the area.
The taxing district must also be approved by the Fort Wayne City Council.
The commission also accepted bids for a streetscape project along Clinton Street between Main and Berry streets.
The project will remove the eastern travel lane and widen the sidewalk in front of the Journal Gazette Building and the Anthony Wayne Building. It will also include ornamental street lighting and planters near the curb to better separate pedestrians from the traffic.
The commission also approved moving forward with a request by The History Center to use money from the taxing district it is in for capital expenses such as window replacements, repairs to its slate roof and other work.
The approval, however, was contingent on whether other funding is available and will require quotes on exactly what the work will cost.