City firm wins auction for Casad

October 4, 2018

A Fort Wayne real estate company that specializes in redeveloping properties won the federal government auction of the sprawling former Casad Depot property near New Haven.

Hanning & Bean bid 145,000 before the auction closed Sept. 27.

Four bidders were involved. The General Services Administration, which administered the auction, names only the winning bidder.

Brian Yoh, New Haven’s director of planning and economic development, said Hanning & Bean’s interest was not unexpected. The federal government sold a 100-acre portion on the north side of Casad in the 1970s, and it was subsequently purchased by Hanning & Bean, Yoh said.

The company’s vice president is Bill Bean, and “It would make sense he would have interest in the whole complex,” Yoh said.

Bean, who owns the Indiana Michigan Power and 1st Source buildings in downtown Fort Wayne, the Hotel Fort Wayne and several restaurants, plus industrial space around northeast Indiana, said he has ambitious plans for the property.

“It could end up anything from a racetrack (for race cars) to an industrial park,” he said.

“I love the location,” Bean added, noting it’s a straight shot to Toledo via U.S. 24 and southern Ohio through U.S. 30.

Casad Depot was used by the military during the World War II era for storing munitions and other supplies until it was closed in 2011.

New Haven expressed interest in acquiring the property late last year and obtained a commitment from the Allen County-Fort Wayne Capital Improvement Board for up to $1 million in matching money to buy the site for an industrial park.

But the city and federal government could not come to an agreement on price, and the government put the property up for public auction. Meanwhile, New Haven officials feared environmental cleanup and tearing down structures would cost more than expected.

The site’s buildings contain about 1 million square feet of space, but about one-third of that is considered in “unsound condition and likely in need of tear-down,” according to the federal government’s auction description.

The site also has about 13 miles of railroad track, signals, roads and sidewalks, but likely would require sewer and water infrastructure construction.

Bean said one or possibly two buildings could be salvaged. “Hopefully, by next spring, we’ll have a good idea of what direction and a timetable.”

The deal will not close for 60 days beyond the auction closing, Bean said.

New Haven “had outside interest (in the property), but it’s nice to see a local developer have it,” Yoh said.

“But hearing he (Bean) was successful made me smile,” Yoh added. “I know he is someone we can work with.”