Wednesday, November 14, 2007

From Council

A CONFIRMING RESOLUTION designating an “Economic Revitalization Area” under I.C. 6-1.1-12.1 for property commonly known as 1115 South Clinton Street and 206 East Jefferson Boulevard, Fort Wayne, Indiana 46802 (Subway Systems, Inc. for Subway Sandwiches)
No one spoke for or against the resolution during the public hearing period.

During the discussion period, it was noted that the new Subway location on South Clinton was located in an economic development target area and that it was part of the Downtown Improvement District. The new location is a result of the former location becoming part of the Harrison Square site.

Councilman Shoaff remarked on the fact that the City is trying to redevelop downtown based on an urban model and that a drive-through restaurant was physically not the type of building for a downtown environment. He said that he was concerned to see another drive-through two blocks from Harrison Square.

The Subway owner remarked that they would be seeing a brick and stone facade for the store and that there would be a decorative fence in addition to elevation sighting that would aim for a "downtown flavor". Being twice the size of the old store, the owner remarked that the new store would be a flagship store for the company.

Councilman Pape said he was encouraged by the commitment to an urban feel. He stressed the need to create a look closer to the street and that Starbucks did good job of doing so.

The new location for Subway is 1115 South Clinton Street, which is zoned as CM5A. It should be noted that the Downtown Design Guidelines discourages drive-through facilities in this zoning designation:
"In order to maintain a pedestrian-friendly higher density central downtown, certain development characteristics typically associated with less dense development such as restaurant drive-through facilities, minimum building setbacks, single story buildings and on-site parking should be discouraged."
It would appear that construction of this new Subway location would be in direct violation of the Downtown Design Guidelines. Hopefully the City Council, city Plan Commission, and city staff will push strongly for adherence to the Downtown Design Guidelines not only for the Subway shop in question but for all new downtown construction.

Resolution passed with Councilmen Schmidt, Shoaff, and Crawford voting against

AN ORDINANCE establishing three separate funds for the Harrison Square Project
This fund will be known as “Harrison Square BAN Fund”
Councilman Shoaff asked if the three funds would be segregated and if they would be available as public record for anyone to check. The answer was yes.

The ordinance passed unanimously


Jeff Pruitt said...

If Harrison Square is truly a catalyst project then do we really need to give handouts for fast food restaurants to move downtown?

scott spaulding said...

It has more to do with Council's criteria than location. Case in point is the recent McDonald's abatement.

Jeff Pruitt said...

I disagree. In your own post you said:

"it was noted that the new Subway location on South Clinton was located in an economic development target area and that it was part of the Downtown Improvement District."

Location was the #1 factor. Just because a business qualifies for an abatement shouldn't guarantee them the abatement. A little bit of common sense from the city and the council would be nice...

scott spaulding said...

Your original post implies that the abatement was given in order to bring them to that location. Maybe I worded it incorrecty but the Council's lack of enforcing some of their own criteria is the factor here.

Change Fort Wayne said...

The problem that I have with this, is not the fact that subway is building again downtown, its that its a subway building, not a building with subway in it. So much for the notion of mixed use- this is a suburban development in the urban core.

Dare I use the term "Economic Rearrangement"

Scott B. said...


No it is not economic rearragment. Which, by the way, I think is a rediculous notion that has no real basis in economics.

But I agree that it is just another suburban development in the core. If you go to any metropolitan area, these kinds of restaurants are not in stand alone buildings. They are all in mixed use space.

Therefore, I agree with Jeff, that they do not deserve an abatement, because they do not fit the profile of what the area calls for and doesn't even fit the zoning code.

They were going to have to move somewhere since their building was going to be torn down. But does that mean they deserve an abatement? NO! I think they would deserve an abatement if they were going to build a four story apartment complex that had other retail space avaliable, which they owned. But not for a stand alone building.

andy said...

Giving Subway a $ 450,000 tax abatement seems a bit squirrlley to me. I have to wonder if NOT awarding the Subway owner the abatement would have halted the new store from being built.

I have been a strong advocate of the redevelopment of Southtown and downtown, but I question the logic used for these abatements. The McDonald's store at Southtown was already built - why was an abatement given/needed ? What's the incintive if its already built?

Also, I am sad to see yet another historic downtown building a victim of the wrecking ball.

Change Fort Wayne said...

scott b.

I realize, I just hadn't heard it in a while.

scott spaulding said...

Subway shouldn't even be allowed to proceed with their building plan unless it is radically changed, especially since they have a corner lot.

The Downtown Design Guidelines are pretty clear about buildings located on corners:

"Buildings located at street corners should serve as distinguishable gateways designed to address the corner by engaging the interest of drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists at the intersection. Corner buildings should also provide additional building mass or distinctive architectural elements to emphasize the corner location."

Trying to implement a drive-through with a corner lot even further complicates the matter. Either we will see a really creative design that makes use of the space or we'll get a suburban Subway that happens to be downtown.

J Q Taxpayer said...

Well fans... everyone that was for Harrison Square never said much when property was purchased outside the set guidelines. So, why do you think Mayor Richard and his band of people would care about following the guidelines you are talking about?

My guess in the next five weeks you are going to see some more interesting deals done.

Jeff Pruitt said...

I can almost guarantee you that it's going to be a same-ol, same-ol Subway especially since nobody from council or the city are pushing on them.

But regardless of that, Scott B is correct. They should not be given an abatement for building a standalone building (with yet another parking lot) downtown...

Anonymous said...

Why not put the new Subway in on Columbia Street, Wayne Street or Calhoun Street (between Wayne and Berry)???? Has anyone asked the owner about a proposed location?

Joe said...

I agree anonymous. Why does this Subway have to build a whole new building when there are plenty of retail spaces available downtown? Let people figure out parking themselves. Look at what Toscani's and JK O'Donnell's have done...Subway should follow that blueprint. Any new downtown project should include minimal to no surface parking! Just my opinion.

Scott B. said...

I completely agree Joe. The reason our downtown looks to horrible is because no one had the foresight to stop building surface parking lots. Instead they just let people destroy buildings and put in asphalt.

Joe F said...

I think the old Subway seats about 6 people. If the new one is double the size, will it seat 12 or so? I'm not expecting to be overwhelmed by the new "flagship store."

LP Mike Sylvester said...

Scott B:

Economic Rearrangement is a term that describes much of what our local officials call Economic Redevelopment.

It is when you move businesses from one part of town to another without creating a single new job...

Mike Sylvester

Luke said...


Would you be for Economic Rearrangement, without the creation of any new jobs, if it increased the urbanization of a city? I think that is the overwhelming factor here. I agree with you that taking a “perfectly fine” baseball stadium and moving it from Coliseum Blvd to Downtown is in of itself just Rearrangement. But I feel that forming a dense, viable urban core is more important and worth the costs. The days of plentiful and cheep petro are soon to be over (if not already). The current layout was designed when oil was so inexpensive that we could afford to built our suburbia houses and commute long distances to work. I’m afraid that this will not be the case much longer. Fort Wayne has no hopes of accomplishing things such as increasing the tax base without annexation or a viable public transportation system if we keep sprawling. We need to infill. If there is a little Economic Rearrangement that happens in the process so be it.