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Chad Ryan | The Journal Gazette
Representatives from RealAmerica Development & Management and the Downtown Improvement District explain renovations Wednesday for the Randall Lofts apartments being built downtown at Harrison and Pearl streets.

Backers tour loft projects

Apartments part of downtown renewal efforts

Chad Ryan | The Journal Gazette
Bill Brown, right, president of the Downtown Improvement District, takes downtown boosters on a preview tour of the renovations to the Randall Lofts building at Harrison and Pearl streets.

– Downtown boosters previewed a pair of rental projects totaling at least $21.5 million that officials say will continue momentum in Fort Wayne’s urban core.

Officials from the Downtown Improvement District and RealAmerica Development & Management in Fishers conducted a tour of the loft apartment sites Wednesday.

Randall Lofts is a $7.5 million five-story complex, where renovations are ongoing.

It occupies a historic building at 616 S. Harrison St. at Pearl Street that will include 44 one- and two-bedroom apartments.

Pre-leasing is underway.

The building will include retail space or a restaurant on the first floor. There is already a hair salon, but property manager David Lamb said about 7,200 square feet is available for leasing.

The Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority has awarded Randall Lofts nearly $675,000 annually for 10 years in rental housing tax credits.

The city of Fort Wayne contributed $600,000 in federal Neighborhood Stabilization Program money, of which $450,000 is a loan and $150,000 is a forgivable loan.

Renovations to create Superior Lofts should begin in 2015, with leasing taking place late that year.

The $14 million project will house 66 apartments and is similar to the facility on South Harrison, except all but two of the apartments are income-based.

Rent at Superior Lofts could range from $800 to $1,200 a month.

Units in both locations will span 700 to 1,000 square feet and include all appliances.

Superior Lofts, however, will have a 100-vehicle parking garage near the four-story complex, 102 W. Superior St.

It also will provide storage space for residents at the property that used to house a paper goods factory.

Bill Brown, president of the Downtown Improvement District, said it’s good for residents to see tangible proof that residential efforts are moving ahead.

“It’s one thing to hear about it, but to be able to tour it like we did allows people to see how things will take shape,” he said.

Businesswoman Lois Eubank attended the tour with about 20 others. Eubank said she witnessed downtown’s decline and now its rebirth.

“This area used to be hopping,” said Eubank, owner of Born Again Quilts and a downtown landlord.

“We’re getting back to that again,” she said.