The Allen County-Fort Wayne Development Trust, with help from the Community Foundation of Greater Fort Wayne, has acquired the real estate and business assets of Columbia Street West, 135 W. Columbia St.
For the last seven years, the trust has narrowed its vision scope to acquire key development properties along historic West Columbia Street, known as The Landing in downtown Fort Wayne. These efforts are centered around the efforts of creating a vibrant, urban neighborhood that retains and builds upon the site’s unique history.
“Our conversations with the current owners, John and Hank Freistroffer, have been ongoing for years, predating the hardships endured by many local retailers as a result of the COVID pandemic,” said Maclyn Parker, trust board president. “The Columbia Street West owners were ready to retire the business and real estate, and most important, collectively shared a spirited, community vision to redevelop the property and business, consistent with The Landing’s current developer, Model Group. The Landing is truly making history again as more people continue to want to live, work, and play in downtown Fort Wayne’s front porch. We wish the Freistroffers well. For the last 34 years, Hank and John have added so much to the cultural fabric of The Landing’s rich, 200-year history.” The Freistroffers will continue to own and operate their remaining restaurant, Henry’s on Main Street.
Model Group, the Cincinnati developer, has invested $32.2 million in the project and looks to invest further in The Landing and the region. Jason Chamlee, vice president of mixed-use development for Model Group, stated, “We have been looking for additional development opportunities in Fort Wayne and are excited to build off of the success of The Landing and continue the momentum and revitalization that is occurring downtown.”
Greater Fort Wayne Inc. provides support staff services to the Allen County-Fort Wayne Development Trust and has been the single point of contact to attract private investment in projects like The Landing.
“Despite today's challenges for retailers and restaurateurs across the country, private investors remain very enthusiastic about Fort Wayne as an excellent place to grow a business,” said John Urbahns, president and CEO of GFW Inc. "This community has the perfect mix for residents and businesses alike, building a high quality of life while maintaining a low cost of living."
As commercial build-out nears completion for each tenant’s spaces, further announcements will be forthcoming.