$286M renovation brings new life to century-old General Electric plant in Indiana

Kennith Bogan

For a century, the Standard Electric powered campus around downtown Fort Wayne, Indiana, served as a symbol of the city’s industrial could possibly. At its peak, in the late months of Entire world War II, the campus used 40% of the city’s wage earners. 

GE departed the campus in 2014, but the hulking constructions it still left guiding have been never razed. Now they are getting reborn as an formidable multi-stage redevelopment identified as Electric Works. 

Historical photo.

Permission granted by Weigand Construction/archival image


The initial section of construction, which commenced in January and is slated for completion up coming tumble, will produce new headquarters for Indiana’s major employer, Do It Very best Corp., as perfectly as home earmarked for academic and well being care services. Also unveiled will be Union Avenue Market place, Northeast Indiana’s to start with food hall and community industry, showcasing far more than 20 retailers as perfectly as a weekly farmer’s sector. A next stage of redevelopment will follow.

Fort Wayne-primarily based Weigand Building is serving as building supervisor on the redevelopment of 10 existing West Campus buildings encompassing about 730,000 square ft, all on a quick-monitor agenda, claimed CEO Larry Weigand.

“Bringing jointly all the funding companions took a small for a longer period than what we preferred,” he mentioned. “We also fully commited to some of the tenants, like Do It Ideal, which required to be in by the conclude of 2022. That prompted a compression of the routine.”

Staging supplies and machines on the dense city website in close proximity to a household space proved a different challenge. All design products are initially delivered to and pulled together in an East Campus bullpen, then escorted to the suitable buildings on the West Campus on an as-desired foundation, stated Weigand Task Supervisor Cody Michaud.

Development past month.

Permission granted by Weigand Building


Federal and point out historic tax credits helped make the $286 million very first period feasible. That suggests the Nationwide Park Provider and Indiana Point out Historic Preservation Office environment must often monitor the operate. “We developed that into the schedule,” Michaud mentioned. 

“You have to handle that as a procurement lead time. We perform hand in hand with the owner’s historic tax credit rating consultant, Heritage Consulting,” he said. “They take a look at the work web-site every month and walk the position with us every thirty day period to make certain what’s being put in is in accordance with the tax credit history pounds.”

Specified the COVID-19-era resources shortages, Weigand Development went to significant lengths to pre-acquire products, this kind of as electrical conduit and piping constructions. 

“Objects we realized had a material guide time were being pre-bought,” Michaud explained. “All the gentle fixtures for the large structures were pre-acquired, as ended up the plumbing fixtures.”

Building proceeded very last month on Creating 20, which will house section of the Union Avenue Market place as perfectly as business office space.

Permission granted by Weigand Design


At each individual switch, Weigand Design and Durham, N.C.-based mostly developer Ancora have sought to guarantee the reinvigorated campus will boast a good deal of nods to the site’s historical past. For a long time, the illuminated General Electric powered symbol, acknowledged by many as “the gumball,” had towered brightly above the campus. GE carted absent the gumball in 2015 immediately after the properties were marketed. But a new illuminated Electrical Functions sign, alongside a Do It Finest indicator, will be mounted atop a single of the properties as a url to the previous.

“You will be able to see them from miles away,” Weigand stated. “That was intentional.”

Historic image.

Authorization granted by Weigand Construction/archival photograph


The restoration of the masonry blanketing 120,000 sq. feet of vertical wall is this sort of a big part of the work that Weigand split the restoration amongst firms headquartered in Fort Wayne, Warsaw, Indiana, and Lima, Ohio that specialize in historic tasks involving masonry, Weigand reported. 

“There are not a ton of tradesmen functioning in this course of action, and they are in demand from customers all more than the Midwest. To have the correct amount of money of work done, we had to divide the perform,” he reported. “Mainly because it was a compressed program for this important job, we experienced to operate on various elevations of numerous properties at the similar time.”

Windows ended up an great component of the primary structures, and thanks to historic window substitution they will be just as crucial an ingredient of the redevelopment. The new windows Wiegand Building teams are setting up are precise reproductions of the authentic windows, and will have the maximum R-benefit of the overall wall procedure.

In a further nod to background, Electric powered Performs will characteristic leisure solutions that consist of a revitalized and modernized gymnasium and bowling alley, which were being section of the leisure offerings in the “GE Club” designed in 1927 for GE’s workers.

A rendering of Amp Lab, a university that is prepared for the web site. 

Authorization granted by Weigand Development


The assortment of Weigand Design to take care of the undertaking designed perception specified the company’s deep Fort Wayne roots and its expertise in past adaptive reuse jobs. Established in 1906, Weigand Development is a $300 million-a-12 months organization that has expanded past Northeast Indiana to Michigan and Ohio. 

A professional in wellbeing treatment, wellness, education and learning, industrial and commercial design, the business crafted award-profitable Parkview Industry, residence of the city’s Course A Slight League Baseball staff, which is credited with helping spark the city’s downtown renaissance in the last 15 decades.

Weigand Building also has helmed important adaptive reuse projects in the downtown district, such as redevelopment of the historic Embassy Theatre and adjacent Indiana Hotel. A closing thought in its selection was the company’s intense method to project protection.

“Our [mission statement] is that ‘We construct landmarks that effects the life and communities that we serve,'” Weigand, the firm’s fourth-generation CEO, stated. “There couldn’t be a superior suit than this challenge, mainly because this will generationally effect life and communities.”

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