When it comes to the redevelopment of a once-premier north-side office building, it appears the third time will be the charm.
The five-story structure at 2827 Rupp Drive, which last April was supposed to be converted into a senior apartments before that plan was scrapped in favor of Park Center’s ultimately unsuccessful attempt to locate an opioid treatment center there, is again being targeted for residential use by the same developers who backed the original project nearly a year ago.
At a cost of about $3.8 million, the 73,000-square-foot, 49-year-old building will be converted into 68 apartments that may ultimately target residents 55 and older. The “Community at Triangle Park” is a joint venture between JATS LLC, Tippmann & Dumas LLC and BND Development and is expected to open in about six months, according to JATS partner Tod Ramsey.
In addition to the studio, one- and two-bedroom apartments, the project will also include an indoor pickleball court, activity space, meeting, theater room, hair and nail salon and coffee shop and perhaps room for a visiting physician. A fenced outdoor dog-walking area is also a possibility.
The building will be gutted and completely rebuilt, Ramsey said, with new windows, mechanical systems and security features. A covered parking area may also be created, and the exterior will be cleaned and brightened.
“It’s a real ‘sleeper’ building,” Ramsey said. “It’s a great location, near IPFW, a woods and pond and Triangle Park (restaurant). We’ve just gone back to where we started.”
Unlike the group’s original proposal, however, the project does not currently include plans for a commercial strip center on the property, meaning the developers no longer need to have the land rezoned by the city’s Plan Commission. Now vacant, the building was once home to tenants with such prominent names as Verizon, Tokheim and IBM.
Although no decision has been made about limiting residents to 55 and older, BND partner O. Karl Behrens said there is a shortage of such housing in Fort Wayne. BND Property Manager Rosie Freeman said the room designs will be named for historic Fort Wayne theaters, such as the Emboyd (now the Embassy), the Quimby, Rialto and Paramount.
The original residential proposal was dropped because the developers believed it would be easier to work with a single tenant, but Park Center withdrew its proposal for a residential drug-treatment center after neighbors objected and ultimately selected a location in New Haven instead.