Home > Political Animal > Tired of waiting

Tired of waiting

By PA

Fort Wayne Reader

2010-09-17


That sound you hear on the breeze isn’t the rustle of the autumn leaves or even the honking of geese flying south for the winter.

It’s the gleeful cries of Harrison Square naysayers chanting “we told you so! We told you so!”

With members of Fort Wayne’s City Council making noise recently, the city’s Redevelopment Commission announced this week that they were sending a “letter of default” to the Barry Real Estate and Hardball Capital, notifying them that they have defaulted on their contract with the city to build the retail/condo portion of the Harrison Square project.

This is actually a long time coming, and we covered the preliminary skirmish back in FWR #137. During budget meetings last October, city council member John Shoaff (D-at large) – never a fan of the project – proposed going after Barry and Hardball for “liquidated damages,” which is the money the companies agreed to pay in the contract with the City of Fort Wayne if the project was not completed in time. In the contract, that’s $5,000/day. Tom Smith (R-1) and Mitch Harper (R-4) voted with Shoaff.

The vote was defeated (Shoaff and the others fully expected it would be), but the message was sent. Greg Leatherman, the City’s Executive Director of Redevelopment, urged patience, saying that the economy had taken a downturn since the project was launched but that Barry and Hardball were working hard to secure tenants.

But apparently, with the project 15 months behind the date stipulated in the contract, the Redevelopment Commission has decided enough is enough, and sent the “letter of default.” The developers have 90 days to respond.

As to what penalties might be enacted, or what new deal might take place… well, no one is saying yet. The $5,000/day doesn’t kick in until the 90 days are up, but the parites may not even go that route.

And eventually, this could open the door for other developers to perhaps take up the project…

Good luck with that.

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