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Last updated: Mon. Jan. 07, 2013 - 07:01 am EDT

Harrison nearing completion

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The inside of the Harrison still smelled of fresh paint and drywall Friday morning. Rolls of carpet waited to be unfurled, while tools and building materials lay strewn through apartments.

But the $18 million downtown building – delayed by seemingly endless financial setbacks until just a year ago – at Ewing Street and Jefferson Boulevard is fast moving toward the finishing-touches stage.

“The energy and the feel of the project has really picked up over the last few weeks because folks are aware that the project is about to open up,” said Breck Geeting, a sales associate with BND Commercial, the firm in charge of leasing the space.

By Feb. 1, the first tenants are scheduled to start moving into the Harrison, a four-story complex that features retail space at ground level, offices for the Carson Boxberger law firm on the second floor and upscale apartments in the top two floors.

The fourth floor, which includes some of the apartments closest to completion, offers impressive balcony views of next-door Parkview Field, home of the Fort Wayne TinCaps baseball team. All the units have granite countertops and will feature stainless steel appliances.

Most of the building's interior has been painted, doors are being installed and bathrooms will be finished over the next few weeks, Greeting said. Carson Boxberger is expected to move equipment into the building through January, with a February move-in date, she said.

Of the Harrison's 43 apartments, 22 had been leased out Friday – the units with windows facing south, toward the ballpark, have leased more quickly than the north side – while more than half of the first-floor commercial space remained available. But interest in the building remains high, Geeting said.

Developers are in negotiations with a gym, which could lease a large chunk of the 15,800 square feet of remaining first-floor space, Geeting said. A small restaurant also remains a possibility. O'Reilly's Irish Bar and 3Rivers Federal Credit Union have already signed on for space on the ground level, which totals about 24,000 square feet.

The Harrison's underground parking garage will provide more than 80 spaces, mostly for residents of the building and Carson Boxberger employees. Nine metered spaces will be available in front of the building on Jefferson.

While constructions crews hurry to put finishing touches on the building's interior, workers also are finishing a project to narrow Jefferson between Ewing and the Embassy Theatre and widen the sidewalk in front of the Harrison to make it friendlier to shoppers and pedestrians. That project is scheduled to be finished by Feb. 15, said city spokesman John Perlich.

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