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Posted on Sat. Feb. 23, 2013 - 12:16 am EDT

Harrison tenants settle in

Law firm, Irish eatery next to open

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FORT WAYNE — The Harrison’s biggest tenant is moving in this weekend.

Law firm Carson Boxberger will have a new address Monday morning: The entire second floor of The Harrison, the long-awaited mixed-use building that is the final piece of the Harrison Square puzzle.

Friday afternoon, the office was filled with stacks of file boxes as movers rolled filing cabinets into position.

Partner Andrew Boxberger was already at work in his new office overlooking a snow-covered Parkview Field, while other employees – all in matching T-shirts for the move – unpacked a break-area kitchen.

“Monday morning, we’re open for business,” Boxberger said.

Another tenant is about to open for business as well.

O’Reilly’s Irish Bar & Restaurant could open as soon as next week. On Friday, the bar – with taps all installed and ready to pour – was stacked with boxes of glassware waiting to be put away. The wall decorations, mostly Irish beer-related, were up below a dozen flat screens.

O’Reilly’s will have 17 beers on tap, from the usual to craft beers such as Four Horsemen Leprechaun Light Lager and Blue Moon Belgian White, plus about 40 bottled beers.

Managing Partner Richard Cieslinski said the restaurant will likely have a soft opening but will definitely be going full blast by St. Patrick’s Day.

“It’s coming together,” he said. “We’re getting lots of shipments of plates and glassware.”

In addition to the bar, tables and chairs, one section will feature couches. The bar will also have outlets for plugging in laptops, and a patio with views of the ballpark will hold up to 150 people and feature a fire pit.

“That way you can stay warm in September during the playoffs,” Cieslinski said.

O’Reilly’s is one of the few places to feature a high-tech keg system that allows each beer to be stored and served at the precise temperature its brewer recommends. That means the Guinness will be a little warmer to let the full beer flavor come out, while Coors Light will be extra chilled to ensure it tastes, well, really cold.

“There’s not too many people in the country doing it,” Cieslinski said.

The restaurant’s menu is heavy on sandwiches but also features salads, wraps and traditional Irish fare.

A 3Rivers Federal Credit Union branch in the building has been open for several weeks, but about two-thirds of the first-floor retail space is still available.

The estimated $18.5 million building was due to be finished in 2009 but stalled when the economy tanked and financing dried up.

The city sold the property to the developers, New Harrison, for $675,000.

The deal calls for Hardball Capital, owner of the TinCaps minor league baseball team, to pay $50,000 annually for 19 years into a fund that can help New Harrison make its debt payments if the building is not fully rented.

Money not used by the developer could be spent by the city’s redevelopment commission.

The land is also part of a tax increment financing district, which means the new taxes generated by the development go into a special fund; the first 10 years’ worth of taxes the building generates will be available to cover debt payments if revenue falls short.

Commercial real estate experts have said the building should be able to hit its financial targets, and city officials have said that while there are some safety nets built into the deal, taxpayers are not on the hook if the deal sours.

dstockman@jg.net


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