Sunday, March 27, 2016

Heavily-Subsidized Ash Project In Fort Wayne Hailed As Making Market More Competitive

So Fort Wayne used its downtown TIF and Legacy Fund to heavily subsidize the construction of a 9-story, $98 million mixed use commercial development in the heart of downtown. The city's investment in the project is about $39 million, which included construction of a parking garage, land acquisition, site preparation, streetscape improvements, utility upgrades and other project enhancements. A story in today's Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette reports the new development is filling up face with new tenants and "creating a more competitive market for commercial space." A closer look at who is leasing space in the development gives a clearer picture of who actually benefits from this major public investment:

  • Ash Brokerage, the developer of the project, is relocating its Fort Wayne headquarters into the building.
  • DuCharme McMillen & Associates is relocating its offices from the city's north side into the Ash Skyline.
  • Barnes & Thornburg is moving its offices down the street in the Indiana Michigan Power Center into the project. That building is owned by Hanning & Bean, which was supposed to invest $30 million in an apartment project as part of the Ash Skyline project until it pulled out of the project.
  • Other tenants include a Lake City Bank branch, a fine chocolate store, a YMCA branch and a restaurant.
The question not asked by the Journal-Gazette is how the city's $39 million public investment in the project benefits the public. What happens is that taxpayers who don't reside in a TIF district wind up being higher taxed to make up for the tax dollars being cannibalized by the TIF district's projects. As can be seen by this project, there's no net development benefit for the greater Fort Wayne area. Jobs and money are just being moved around. So yeah, Ash's building is getting new tenants, but it's coming at the expense of other landlords. I guess you can call that increased competition. I call it picking winners and losers. 


Anonymous said...

Wow. Picking winners and losers for sure! When will politicians stop playing sim city with tax money?

Anonymous said...

Another large office space on the northside of Indianapolis vacated. Most likely many of its workers will relocate to Ft. Wayne. When will city officials begin to focus attention on the part of the city that has economic assets in need of protection. The largest proportion of tax dollar revenues in Marion County are generated along the E. 82nd/E.86th St. Corridor. Yet, the degradation of fire and police services continues. Tax increases don't bring services to us like they provide Downtown and "Midtown". Nearly $10,000,000 is being sought for Tarkington Park at Meridian&38th for a park with over the top facilities(about half of Park's budget). It's difficult to rent office space when the roads leading up to the buildings are in the condition that would make 3rd World Countries blush. Thank you, Michael McQuillen for not assigning District 3 Councillor, Christine Scales to the Public Works Committee to protect our assets(sarcasm intended).

Anonymous said...

Typical musical chairs. The prior
landlords have lost their soon to
be prior tenants. Regardless,
parking absolutely stinks in
downtown Fort Wayne near the

Pete Boggs said...

Put simply; TIFs are collateralized with the property of private citizens & productive sector. TIFs are unConstitutional, wanton acts of consumptive / public sector gluttony & greed.

TIFs consume & destroy areas, by escalating counterfeit value assumptions of statists who demand ever increasing taxes from those "trended" to a new & inorganic, subsidized-shiny "standard." As existing residents & businesses discover they can't keep pace (read also can't afford) with demands of the "new standard" taxing trends; they move and / or close their businesses; to escape these predictable abuses of statism. The few principle deficient principals who benefit from these schemes (insiders, operators), simply move on to the next scam. Their cover is one of proximity to big law; the single greatest incubator of corruption in our time.

Anonymous said...

Former IEDC co-head Eric Doden benefits from a sweetheart, heavily subsidized apartment development currently under construction two blocks from this heavily subsidized project.
The self-dealing in Fort Wayne is now in full bloom.

Anonymous said...

8:21, DMA are moving from Fort Wayne's northside to the new location, not from their Indy office!

Anonymous said...

I agree with the guy above complaining about all the money being sought for Tarkington park. Ridiculous in this environment of unfixed potholes and the third world status of streets on the east side.