- Associated Press - Friday, May 9, 2014

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (AP) - The largest development project in downtown Fort Wayne in decades is getting bigger and more expensive.

The Journal Gazette and The News Sentinel report the office, residential, parking and commercial project that initially was expected to have 60,000 square feet at a cost of $71 million will now have 95,000 square at a cost of $98 million.

City officials and private developers announced Thursday they were adding another story for parking to accommodate future growth, expanding from the original 750 parking spaces to 1,200.

“You don’t do something halfway,” Mayor Tom Henry said. “Fort Wayne deserves the very best.”

Ash Brokerage plans a nine-story office tower where the company will move its 200 current employees and add 115 more. The project also includes a 17-story tower of 100 townhomes, apartments and condos planned by Hanning & Bean Enterprises.

Both projects will sit on top of a city-owned parking garage, which will be surrounded by street-level retail and row-house style residences along Webster Street.

The Allen County-Fort Wayne Capital Improvement Board, which previously pledged $6.5 million over 10 years to help pay for the project, will meet Monday to consider the city’s request for more $4 million more for the project. Funding also must be approved by the city’s Redevelopment Commission and City Council.

Officials say construction is expected to begin soon and be completed by the end of next year.

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