Warsaw Redevelopment Commission approves amendment to Buffalo Street agreement

In anticipation of possible funding through the Northeast Indiana Regional Development Authority, the Warsaw Redevelopment Commission Tuesday approved an amendment to an agreement with the Buffalo Street project developer. The developer is Matthews Warsaw LLC.

City Planner Jeremy Skinner said, “It’s been a couple of months now we’ve been working with the RDA, trying to get this project ready to submit to Regional Cities for funding. As part of that process, we kind of went through our original agreement, trying to meet their requirements, and at the same time trying to do what we set out to accomplish in the first place.”

He said they came up with the amendment based on receiving Regional Cities funding totaling $3.5 million. If the redevelopment project doesn’t receive the funding, then the original economic development agreement is still in place.

“The initial agreement was based on developing certain parts of the project within a certain time frame. Based on our conversations with the RDA and their requirements and what the state wants to see, the amendment to the agreement moves away from that based on the type of development and moves more toward a dollar amount,” Skinner explained.

The new agreement states that within the first four years, Matthews will expend $10.5 million on the mixed use housing project planned along Buffalo Street near Center lake.

A portion of it could be residential housing project that could include a multi-use building where the old Indiana American Water Co. building stands.

“We’re leaving it up to him over the next four years where he wants to spend his money,” Skinner said. “But he has to spend $10.5 million over the next four years, and then the remaining $10.05 million will be spent over the next six years to finish whatever portions he didn’t do in the first four years.”

He said the change aligns more with what the RDA was looking for, but still accomplishes what Warsaw was setting out to do: Completing the project in 10 years. The only change is it gives the developer more flexibility, Skinner contended.

The $3.5 million in grant funding from the RDA, if approved, would be split between the city’s plaza project on Buffalo Street for $1.6 million and $1.8 million for Matthews for property acquisition and demolition costs. The Commission approved the amendment.

One of the claims the Commission approved Tuesday was to American Structurepoint Inc. for $13,006.48 for a grade separation study that was conducted this summer.
Skinner said, “We do have the draft of that study.”

Asked for a reminder on what that study was about, Skinner said, “We’re looking at potential grade separation for the North/South Railroad.” A grade separation generally refers to an underpass or overpass.

The claim approved by the commission was just a portion of the cost of the study, with the rest of the cost coming out of other funds and budgets like the Economic Development Income Tax fund.

The total invoice was for $32,152.72. The Board of Works approved the study in December for an estimated cost of up to $63,500.

The study looked at the entire corridor including parts of Market, Main, Center, Fort Wayne streets and Winona Avenue in downtown Warsaw where two sets of railroad tracks intersect.
The study looks at whether a railroad overpass or underpass would improve traffic flow and is even feasible.

The Commission also approved the following claims: Troyer Group, $13,258.55, engineering for the Silveus Crossing and CR 300N trail project; Faegre Baker Daniels, $293.85 for professional services for the Buffalo Street redevelopment project; HJ Umbaugh, $634.87 for a quarterly investment fee; NIPSCO, $32.10 for lights at the Warsaw Technology Park; Independent Appraisal Service, $425 for appraisal of property at 802 E. Center St. the Commission is looking at acquiring for a Stellar project still being considered; and Dustmasters Inc., Rejuvtec, $6,015.60 for furnishing and applying reclamite, an asphalt rejuvenating agent, to Polk Drive in the Tech Park.

In a bit of last business, the Commission approved plans for Pike Lumber to provide a report on trees out near the Warsaw Technology Park at no cost to the Commission or city. The trees are on the 36 or 37 acres of Kerlin property the Commission purchased about four years ago, Skinner said.