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$20 million apartment project earns planners’ OK

A $20 million luxury apartment complex hoping to draw young professionals will move forward.

The Allen County Plan Commission approved Canal Flats, a 204-unit development, with 19 three-story buildings along West Jefferson Boulevard, near Olde Canal Place Drive, across from the Lutheran Health campus.

Indianapolis-based Kendall Property Group expects the project to be completed by June 2016.

Rent prices haven’t been set for the one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments. J.R. Kendall, vice president of development, has said he’s attracted to Fort Wayne’s job creation, increasing population, and the southwest-side’s high-income area.

Kendall pointed to access to Jefferson Pointe, downtown and the airport as lures. The businessman also is encouraged by the city’s urban core developments, such as insurer Ash Brokerage, which plans a $29 million headquarters on the blocks bordered by Harrison, Wayne, Webster and Berry streets.

The company will move its 200 employees from 7609 W. Jefferson Blvd. to the new building and add 115 more over the next few years.

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

Historically, the median U.S. household would need to spend 24.9 percent of their income on rent, but that has increased to 29.6 percent, according to a recent report by

Kendall said Canal Flats will be competitively priced.

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.

The plan commission approved the project 6-1. President Allan Frisinger, Vice President Ken Neumeister; and members Therese Brown, Darren Vogt, Susan Hoot and Harold Kleine voted in favor. Member David Bailey voted against the apartment complex, while member Renee Fishering abstained.

Bailey said he was uncomfortable with how the project lines up with new waiver requirements.

A rezoning request for the 11.6-acre site is subject to approval from the county commissioners for it to become final.