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Posted on Fri. Jun. 06, 2014 - 12:30 am EDT

New apartment complex on table

$20 million project would be near Lutheran

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A $20 million apartment complex targeting young professionals could see construction early next year.

Canal Flats would have 204 apartments inside 19 three-story buildings along West Jefferson Boulevard, near Olde Canal Place Drive, across from Lutheran Health.

Indianapolis-based Kendall Property Group plans to start leasing next summer. Rent prices haven’t been set for the one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments available.

J.R. Kendall, vice president of development, expects the entire project to be completed by June 2016.

“We just liked the strong job creation, increasing population, and southwest Fort Wayne is a high-income area,” Kendall said. “It has great access to (Jefferson Pointe), downtown and the airport.”

Kendall is encouraged by urban core developments, such as insurer Ash Brokerage, which plans a $29 million, eight-story headquarters on the blocks bordered by Harrison, Wayne, Webster and Berry streets downtown. The company will move its 200 employees to the new building and add 115 more over the next few years.

Ash Brokerage offers wholesale distribution of life insurance, annuities, long-term care and disability income insurance.

This spring, real estate resource released a report on rental affordability, which is becoming more of a national issue since the last recession. U.S. renters are shelling out more of their income on rent than at any point in the past 30 years, the report stated.

Historically, the median U.S. household would need to spend 24.9 percent of their income on rent, but that has increased to 29.6 percent.

Kendall said he has no control over market forces but will ensure Canal Flats are priced competitively.

“Naturally, that’s what we want to do,” Kendall said. “We can’t charge something that doesn’t work.”

The Apartment Association of Fort Wayne has said the average rent for a 1,300-square-foot apartment is about $800. But $1,200 is not excessive for a new complex, officials say.

Other apartments near the Canal Flats site are Liberty Mills, 6101 Cornwallis Drive; Pointe Inverness, 7051 Pointe Inverness Way; and Willows of Coventry, 4499 Coventry Parkway.

Besides a primary development plan, Kendall plans to rezone the 11.6-acre site. A public hearing with the Allen County Plan Commission is set for 1 p.m. July 10.

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