The University of Saint Francis is adding to its presence in Downtown Fort Wayne.
University President Sister Elise Kriss announced Monday that USF will buy the Fort Wayne Chamber of Commerce building at 826 Ewing Street, adjacent to the city’s business district. Once renovations are finished, it will be the new home for the Keith Busse School of Business and Entrepreneurial Leadership.
The chamber building is the second downtown location purchased by the university. In November 2011, USF announced it would purchase the Scottish Rite to create a performing arts center.
Kriss says the purchase is a win for the university, the city, and the Chamber, which first put the building on sale in 2010.
“We are just excited for that potential, what it can do for our students, and what it can do for Downtown Fort Wayne,” Kriss said. “I know those young people are going to want to be here. That’s kind of the trend for young people today, to want to be where the action is.”
Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry joined Kriss and Chamber President Mike Landram for the announcement. Henry, a USF graduate, says the university is filling a void in the downtown area, as no other colleges or university have a presence there.
“They’re going to capture a heck of a market downtown,” Henry said. “Plus they’re going to bring about 500 students and faculty, which will help the businesses downtown as well.”
Though the purchase is expected to close in 4-5 weeks, the chamber will remain in its current location through the spring of 2013. Chamber officials say they have not yet chosen a new location.