Derrick Gingery of Greater Fort Wayne Business Weekly scooped the traditional media today reporting that the City’s option to purchase the OmniSource property will not be renewed.
Fort Wayne Community Development Director John Urbahns said June 24 there are no plans to extend the option a second time.
“Whether June 30 comes or goes with no action, we will continue to negotiate with the owners,” he said. “Obviously, we’re still very interested in it. It’s just a matter of trying to work through an agreement.”
The city paid $25,000 in January 2007 for the right to buy the 29-acre property just north of downtown for $4.3 million. The one-year option was extended another six months on Jan. 1 of this year.
Reducing the price and donating the land to the city were among the possibilities discussed, but no proposal is on the table, Urbahns said.
The extension that is about to run out was a verbal agreement, Urbahns said. He said the fate of the money the city paid for the option has not been discussed.
The option had value because of what the city was able to do with the property during the last 18 months, Urbahns said.
“It’s been valuable to have time to look at the property, do an environmental assessment on the property,” he said.
If there is no renewal of the option or the owners decide to move in another direction, Urbahns said the city still has a role to play in the development of the property.
“Even if it’s a totally private development, we’d like a role for the city to play in how it develops,” Urbahns said. “We want to be involved.”
The North River property is a former site for OmniSource Corp. The Rifkin family, which owned OmniSource before Steel Dynamics Inc. acquired the company last year, is negotiating with the city to sell the land.
City planners think the North River site could be another catalyst development similar to Harrison Square. The development could be anchored by a regional attraction on the north side — perhaps a water park — and would be surrounded by retail space and townhouses. A mixed-use development, more townhouses and a river landing could be included on the south, according to a proposal.
Environmental testing to determine contaminant levels on the land also has been completed. City officials have declined to discuss the test results until a deal is done.”
Kudos to Mr. Gingery for his efforts!
On a related note, the News-Sentinel also reports today that the Rifkin brothers have left SDI/OmniSource…
Three brothers who grew up with OmniSource Corp. as the family business have left the company, which was purchased by Steel Dynamics Inc. last year.
Fred Warner, manager of investor relations for SDI, said that a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission earlier this month disclosed that Danny, Marty and Rick Rifkin are leaving the company. The brothers continue to own stock in SDI, stock which was part of the $1.1 billion purchase agreement in October.
Danny Rifkin was OmniSource’s chief operating officer and SDI’s executive vice president. He will continue to hold a seat on SDI’s board of directors. Marty Rifkin and Rick Rifkin were both executive vice presidents of nonferrous.