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Redevelopment OKs project at old Southtown Mall site

The Fort Wayne Redevelopment Commission approved an agreement on Dec. 14 that will allow a developer to build on a vacant site at what is now called Southtown Crossing.

Formerly an indoor shopping center, Southtown Mall closed in 2003 and was razed in 2004. It was replaced with two big box stores, Walmart and Menards. A few businesses and fast-food restaurants now occupy the perimeter, but land is still available for development.

Linda Golden, president of Legacy One Real Estate & Contracting Inc., plans to develop the 4.6-acre property southeast of Menards in phases. She’s starting out with a 1.3-acre portion the Redevelopment Commission conveyed to her that will be used as Legacy One’s corporate offices. She plans to build a 6,000-square-foot building.

Closing is expected March 31 with groundbreaking in May, said Joe Giant, redevelopment manager for the city of Fort Wayne.

Golden, speaking by phone due to the coronavirus, said she was born and raised in southeast Fort Wayne and went through some rough times, including living in a homeless shelter, before finding success as a business owner.

She pointed out to commissioners that Legacy One is a business owned by an African-American woman who is moving her offices to the southeast side of town.

“I do view southeast Fort Wayne as a beautiful place to live and to work and to play,” she said.

The next phase of the development will be building a coffee shop in the same area.

In other business:

The commissioners approved an amendment to the Club Soda lease. The restaurant leases the building it’s in from the city. Giant noted that Club Soda may take a hit while the adjacent Lofts at Headwaters Park is being built, because it will lose parking spaces, plus will be adjacent to a construction zone.

So to ease the burden on Club Soda a little bit, the commissioners approved a plan that would keep the rent the same from Jan. 1 until the parking garage opens in about two years. Then it would be about another year until the apartments are finished, during which time rent would increase to $98,160 per year. Then once the apartments open the building would be reappraised and Club Soda would pay market rate until the end of the lease.

He also said Club Soda would like to extend the lease for 15 years from when the current lease is up.

Noelle Reith, Club Soda owner, said the restaurant is down $675,000 in revenue for the year since the end of October.

“We are looking to the city for a little help and hoping you will pass the remainder of our lease under the terms that Joe has presented,” she said.

The amendment did pass unanimously.

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