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Development plan along I-69 revived

April 5, 2019 GMT

Sturges Development is seeking permission from the Fort Wayne Planning Department to move ahead with a 35.5-acre commercial development plan for Prairie Centre, a project first unveiled in 2006.

Barry Sturges is resurrecting the southwest mixed-use development, which was approved by local officials and projected in 2008 to cost $57 million. But the development was shelved during the Great Recession, which began in late 2007.

“Now, we’re a little more optimistic that the economy is in good shape,” Sturges said with a chuckle.

Asked for an updated project cost Thursday, Sturges offered a vague “multi-millions of dollars.”

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The developer’s most recent submission asks for planning officials’ approval for road construction off Lower Huntington Road, a location recommended by Allen County officials as being safer than the one originally proposed. The development is near Ernst and Lower Huntington roads and Interstate 69.

Sturges expects easy passage because the request follows that recommendation, which came after an updated traffic study.

Development details are being reworked, but Sturges estimated about 200 single-family homes will be built in a development called Prairie Crossing. Market demand will determine how many multi-family units will be built.

The project’s original plans called for a big-box retailer, but Sturges doubts that’s in the cards, considering how many of those are struggling. He expects smaller retailer tenants, but more of them, in the project’s designated commercial area.

Although he has some prospects, Sturges wasn’t ready to share names Thursday.

Sturges is also hoping to attract some corporate offices and other tenants to the development in Lafayette Township.

Construction could begin in late summer, Sturges said. The development spans about 190 acres.

Prairie Crossing is listed on the Sturges Development website as one of three current residential projects. But unlike Buckner’s Crossing and Greenwood Lakes, no online marketing package is available for Prairie Crossing.

sslater@jg.net

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