A new housing complex is coming to the southeast side of Fort Wayne.
Hundreds of residents joined state and local officials for the groundbreaking of the $42 million Posterity Heights Wednesday afternoon. The site is where McMillen Apartments was once located, which the City of Fort Wayne purchased in 2007 and demolished in 2011.
The complex has been proposed around Fort Wayne for much of the last decade, largely led by Pastor Cedric Walker, CEO of the local Joshua’s Hand. It became a reality in 2015, when the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority included it in its “Moving Forward” housing program.
Wednesday’s groundbreaking kicks off the first of four phases of construction; the first phase will be known as the “Scholar House,” and will include 44 two- and three-bedroom apartments targeted to single parents enrolled in the university. Solar panels and battery storage will be utilized for energy at the complex, and it will feature an electric car sharing service for residents.
Walker believes in “growing people,” which is why he lobbied the city and the state for Posterity Heights to become a reality. As a single parent once upon a time, Walker says he’s excited to give new opportunities to the southeast side of Fort Wayne.
“We all understand the struggles, and so we identified with the people we are going to bring this to,” said Walker. “So we thank God for what he’s doing.”
Gary Hobbs is the CEO of BWI, which serves as the construction and development arm of the Posterity Heights complex. He says the focus on sustainable energy for Posterity Heights comes with the goal of keeping costs down for its residents.
“We wanted to reduce their expenses for rent, utilities and transportation, looking at it holistically, and making sure it’s not more than 45 percent of their income,” said Hobbs “So now they have extra dollars to spend or invest in their families and futures. That’s why we’re doing this.”
“This thing is much bigger than just us,” he added. “We only hope this concept can be replicated throughout this wonderful state.”
Mayor Tom Henry was on hand as the City of Fort Wayne donated the 28-acre property to the project.
He said the site was “nothing to be proud of” when he first became Fort Wayne’s mayor, noting it represented residents on the southeast side poorly. At first, he was skeptical of Walker’s ideas for Posterity Heights.
“He stepped into my office with this grand idea which quite frankly, when I first heard it, I thought, ‘This guy’s got some visions of sugarplums dancing in his head.’ I wasn’t sure about his dream,” said Henry, to several laughs in the crowd.
“But as it began to unfold and he began to bring in others who believed in what could be, I finally bought into it,” he said. “I said all along we can do better, that we owe our citizens a shot at really making life all that it could be for them.”
Councilman Glynn Hines represents Fort Wayne’s sixth district, which is where Posterity Heights will be located. He said he believed in Walker’s concept of a “transformational” complex on the southeast side, and hinted he would ask the Legacy Committee for additional dollars to help the project along.
“The purpose of Legacy is to make transformational changes,” Hines said. “So mayor, I will be submitting a request for an additional $1 million from Legacy.”
A public-private partnership will help fund the $42 million project, which includes contributions from the City of Fort Wayne, IHSCDA low income housing tax credits, HOME funds, Northeast Regional Cities funds, BWI, the National Equity Fund, BMO Harris Bank and Column Financial.
The first phase of Posterity Heights is expected to be completed in fall 2018.