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Harrison Squared

By PA

Fort Wayne Reader

2008-06-10


Even as construction on Harrison Square moves full-steam ahead, an aura of skepticism, second-guessing and near-paranoia still hangs over the hotel/condo/stadium project. With keen-eyed doubters looking for any possible flaw in the financing package for the $130-million development, the media dissecting every comment by public officials, and bloggers weighing in pro and con, the debate over Harrison Square isn’t exactly boiling over, but it’s definitely simmering.

Recently, a Journal Gazette headline and story tagged the interest costs on the $130-million project at a whopping $75-million. Within hours of that headline hitting the streets, the Henry Administration called a news conference to say that a city official had confused the numbers. The real interest costs were less than half the amount originally reported.

Several weeks ago, Mayor Tom Henry set off a mini-firestorm when he made an off-hand remark about the Harrison Square condominiums. Mayor Henry, who previously put down a (refundable) deposit on a Harrison Square condo, said publically that he might change his mind about living downtown if the developers decided to switch from condos to rental apartments. The mayor’s unscripted remark sent his public information staff into a frenzy as media and HS detractors pounced on the comment. Was this a signal that the condo project might be dying a slow death?

No, say the developers, Hardball Capital, (owner of the Fort Wayne Wizards) and Barry Real Estate. Demand for the condos has been slower than they like, but they’re committed to building the new condominiums.

In fact, they recently announced a new incentive: lifetime membership to downtown’s Summit Club for the next 15 buyers.

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