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$20 million, 204-unit apartment complex proposed

Canal Flats across West Jefferson from Lutheran

A $20 million apartment complex targeting young professionals could see construction early next year.

Canal Flats would have 204 apartments inside 19 three-story buildings along West Jefferson Boulevard, near Olde Canal Place Drive, across from Lutheran Health.

Indianapolis-based Kendall Property Group plans to start leasing next summer. Rent prices aren’t set yet. One- two- and three-bedroom apartments will be available.

J.R. Kendall, vice president of development, expects the entire project to be completed by June 2016.

“We just liked the strong job creation, increasing population and southwest Fort Wayne is a high-income area,” Kendall said. “It has great access to (Jefferson Pointe), downtown and the airport.”

Kendall is encouraged by urban core developments, such as insurer Ash Brokerage, which is planning a $29 million, eight-story headquarters on the blocks bordered by Harrison, Wayne, Webster and Berry streets in downtown. The company will move its 200 employees to the new building and add 115 more during the next few years.

Ash Brokerage offers wholesale distribution of life insurance, annuities, long-term care and disability income insurance.

Earlier this spring, real estate resource Zillow.com released a report on rental affordability, which is becoming more of a national issue since the Great Recession.

U.S. renters are shelling out more of their income on rent than they have at any time in the last 30 years, the report stated.

Historically in the United States, the median household would need to spend 24.9 percent of its income on rent, but that has increased to 29.6 percent. Half would spend more, and half less.

Kendall said he has no control over market forces, but will make sure Canal Flats is priced competitively.

“Naturally that’s what we want to do,” Kendall said. “We can’t charge something that doesn’t work.”

The Apartment Association of Fort Wayne has said the average rent for a 1,300-square-foot apartment is about $800. But $1,200 is not excessive for a new complex, officials say.

Other apartments near the Canal Flats site are Liberty Mills, 6101 Cornwallis Drive; Pointe Inverness, 7051 Pointe Inverness Way; and Willows of Coventry, 4499 Coventry Parkway.

Besides a primary development plan, Kendall will seek to rezone the 11.6-acre location. A public hearing before the Allen County Plan Commission is set for 1 p.m. July 10.

pwyche@jg.net

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