Allen County saw nearly 2,500 new jobs and 33 business expansions and relocations in 2018, Greater Fort Wayne Inc. has announced.
In addition to seeing record-breaking accomplishments, Greater Fort Wayne received the 2018 Indiana Chamber of the Year award in June from the Indiana Chamber Executives Association and saw several quality-of-place projects progress, which should help with recruiting and retaining jobs and talent, according to a statement from Greater Fort Wayne Inc.
In 2018, GFW Inc. assisted companies investing nearly $337 million in Allen County. Other commitments included:
Statistic Highest Single-Year Total Since
33 business expansions and relocations 2013 2,445 new jobs Highest on record (stat kept since 2001) $115 million in new annual payroll $115 million in new annual payroll Highest on record (stat kept since 2012)
Major expansion and relocation announcements included:
Company New jobs Investment
Sweetwater 1,009 $76.4 million Midwest Service Supply 230 $1.1 million Aardvark Paper Straws 205 $9.1 million ElringKlinger 150 $23.2 million Rural Sourcing 130 $3.4 million
In December, Allen County officials announced they had issued more than $1 billion in building permits for the second consecutive year. Last year was the first time the county had surpassed the $1 billion mark.
GFW Inc. staff members made more than 700 visits to Allen County businesses in 2018 to help the companies thrive and retain jobs.
“This organization is here to grow jobs, grow wages, and grow the economy,” said John Urbahns, new CEO of GFW Inc., in the statement. “We’re proud to play a part in Allen County’s economic success. The broader economic conditions are ever-changing, but we will keep raising the bar and demanding excellence as we work to build a nationally recognized economy.”
Quality of place
GFW Inc. assisted on several major quality-of-place projects designed to help Allen County attract and retain jobs and talent, including:
• Electric Works – The former General Electric complex is on track for redevelopment after a local funding package was approved in November. Novogradac & Co., a national accounting firm, forecasts the finished campus will spur $387 million in annual economic impact. Developers are looking to break ground next summer.
• Riverfront Development – Phase I construction is expected to be completed this summer. City officials and DAVID RUBIN Land Collective have begun planning for Phases II and III through private investment. A Minnesota-based private developer is planning HIVE, a $62 million mixed-use facility near the riverfront with retail space, living space and a parking garage.
• The Landing – The redeveloped Columbia Street historic district is expected to be completed this summer. Model Group, a Cincinnati firm specializing in revitalizing historic urban neighborhoods, is overseeing the project.
• Improvements in East Allen County – In December, the NewAllen Alliance won a statewide Stellar Communities designation from the Indiana Office of Community & Rural Affairs. This designation qualifies it for quality-of-place improvements that include parks, trails, streetscapes, and more in Grabill, Harlan, Hoagland, Leo-Cedarville, Monroeville, New Haven and Woodburn.
In May, GFW Inc. joined with AWS Foundation to start the Employing People with Disabilities Initiative. The initiative is aimed at connecting local businesses with job placement agencies, specifically for people with disabilities. In less than a year, GFW Inc. established partnerships with nine employment agencies and met with 105 companies.
Several business expansions and attractions continue to work their way through the process. Meanwhile, in the downtown Fort Wayne area, at least seven major building projects are expected to be in some stage of construction in 2019, representing a total investment of approximately $585 million, including a nearly $28 million, five-story boutique hotel the northwest corner of Harrison and Main streets and the new Lutheran Downtown Hospital.
Urbahns was promoted from his position as executive vice president of economic development, a post he held for five years, to president and CEO on Jan. 1. Urbahns has more than 20 years’ experience in Fort Wayne community development, including 18 years of service for the city of Fort Wayne.