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Street through Jefferson Pointe on hold

January 26, 2019 GMT

The street proposed to run through the pedestrian mall area of the Jefferson Pointe shopping center in southwest Fort Wayne has been placed on the back burner, at least for now.

That’s according to correspondence filed with the Department of Planning Services asking to withdraw the proposal.

Advanced late last summer, the plan was to be taken up at a Fort Wayne Plan Commission public hearing in October.

But consideration was postponed to December, and then again to February.

The developer this month asked that the hearing be postponed again, but staff members balked, citing department policy to discourage multiple postponements.

Postponed matters are not advertised again to the public, and, according to staff, that works against public involvement and comment.

Fort Wayne attorney James Federoff, representing the developer, RED Development, said the request to delay “was being made to allow RED to pursue economic development assistance that is needed to defray the cost of certain proposed changes to infrastructure.”

The changes were not detailed in the request. But Federoff said in a telephone interview Friday afternoon the developer has been discussing road improvements to Apple Glen Boulevard and other changes with city transportation and redevelopment officials.

Discussions about turning the boulevard, a private road, into a public road go back years, Federoff said. “It’s looking more favorable (now) that the city would accept it as a public road,” he said.

Being considered are traffic signals at the four-way stop near Best Buy and at the intersection near Walmart and Illinois Road, turning lanes and sidewalks on one or both sides of the street, Federoff said.

Other changes might include improvements to the center’s detention ponds, he said.

Talks now center on funding sources, which might include money from a tax increment financing, or TIF, district that was established when the complex was built, Federoff said.

Some of that money was used on downtown projects because downtown was included in it, he said. “But some of those funds are still available,” he said, and other public funds could be identified.

Jefferson Pointe opened in 2000. Taxes generated by development in a TIF fund improvements in the TIF.

The changes to Jefferson Pointe were prompted by the center’s sale back to a company that includes RED Development, its original developer.

The company has offices in Phoenix and Overland Park, Kansas.

“When they decided to reacquire it, the longer-term goal is to make improvements to the center,” Federoff said. 

Proposed improvements would have brought the street, including a roundabout, to the stores in the middle of the outdoor mall not visible from the parking lots. Parking closer to those storefronts was also proposed to give the complex more of a downtown feel and bring shoppers closer to the stores, the developers said.

Costs for the changes are undetermined, Federoff said. The changes had been expected to start and be completed in 2019.

The withdrawal must be formally approved by the plan commission during its public hearing at 5:30 p.m. Feb. 11 in Room 35 of Citizens Square, 200 E. Berry St.

Developers would have the chance to file a new amendment to the center’s primary development plan.