Worth the wait

Gleaming new Ash Skyline Plaza instantly iconic

Ash Skyline Plaza, photography by Dustin McKibben
The atrium, facing east. photography by Dustin McKibben
CEO Tim Ash, photography by Dustin McKibben
CEO Tim Ash cuts the ribbon at the building's opening June 1, photography by Dustin McKibben
The sixth-floor terrace, photography by Dustin McKibben

It’s been 40 years since downtown Fort Wayne got a new office building and, boy, was it worth the wait. The Ash Skyline Plaza opened with much fanfare June 1 and quickly became one of the city’s newest hot spots, thanks to a few bold, local companies who’ve decided to do business in the heart of the city.

The construction of this sparkling complex was long and arduous, but the hard work paid off and Fort Wayne is the beneficiary. The instantly iconic Ash Skyline Plaza is setting a fresh, modern tone for this city, one that community leaders say is part of a positive wave of development and momentum. At the ribbon cutting, Tim Ash, CEO of Ash Brokerage, said, “There’s no city in America that’s considered great that doesn’t have a great downtown.”

Ash Brokerage resides on the seventh, eighth and ninth floors, accented by a gleaming and bright atrium that offers employees gorgeous, panoramic views of the city. The mid-century modern-esque headquarters features state of the art work spaces and amenities like a game room, private cafeteria, sunken meeting spaces and stunning furniture that would make Don Draper feel right at home.

Ash Brokerage also boasts an innovative, private rooftop green space on the sixth floor that features one acre of walking paths, grassy areas and three raised beds that will supply The Golden with organic produce (more on The Golden later). The green space will be used for company-sponsored events and will be an available amenity for residents of the (yet to be built) residential tower. The peaceful rooftop park has already been used for a series of yoga classes, called Skyline Savasana, in partnership with Urban Body Sanctuary. These included post-workout cocktails from The Golden.

The law firm of Barnes & Thornburg and the tax consulting firm DuCharme, McMillen & Associates (DMA) split the sixth floor. While Barnes & Thornburg has been been a downtown fixture for decades, the company decided to move its 30+ local employees to Ash Skyline Plaza to strengthen its deep Fort Wayne roots, a move that will also offer the company further room to grow. DMA, a homegrown Hoosier company with 23 offices in North America, decided to move its Fort Wayne headquarters downtown from the northwest side to be part of the growing excitement in the city’s core. The firm will occupy 17,000 square feet with an open-office concept that will offer employees a more functional floor plan and allow the company to create 40+ new jobs in the next few years.

On the street-level, retail spaces offer Fort Wayne a multitude of amenities and services, enhancing the already thriving, and still growing, downtown community. Lake City Bank, located at the corner of Harrison and Berry, is a $3.8-billion operation headquartered in Warsaw. The bank has enjoyed steady growth with 48 branch offices and is known for a commitment to technology-driven solutions and a history of service to its communities. The bank was encouraged by the renaissance of downtown Fort Wayne and was the first officially signed tenant. “I couldn’t be more excited to be working downtown in our new branch. I have never seen this much momentum and passion within the city and downtown Fort Wayne,” said Grant Daily, commercial banking officer with Lake City.

Skyline YMCA, along with partners Fort Wayne Outfitters and Parkview TherapyONE, features fitness classes, therapy appointments and cardio and weight-lifting equipment, including a robust Queenax Functional Training Station and a Tour de France Cycling Bike. A bike hub with 24-hour access and managed by Fort Wayne Outfitters, offers assigned bike storage and optional access to showers for a small monthly fee for those who like to pedal to work downtown. Fort Wayne Outfitters also offers a small shop within the YMCA for repairs and supplies for cyclists.

DeBrand Fine Chocolates’ new outpost on Harrison Street, off the main lobby of the building, is lovely and decadent, and not just due to its amazing confections. As with all DeBrand locations, visitors feel like they just stepped into a box of chocolates. But this newest spot is decidedly more luxe with stylish details like a custom marquee sign and stunning lighting. DeBrand is known for its beloved chocolates but also serves up a full menu of classic and specialty espresso-based drinks.

The FIND, sister store to The Trove in Roanoke, is chock-full of gorgeous gifts and goodies for women, men, children and four-legged friends. Partners Libby Ash, Roya Kelly and Melani Wilson have curated a selection of stylish clothing, jewelry, accessories, home decor and beauty products that will dazzle downtown shoppers. This emporium of chic joins an emerging community of indie boutiques dotting the city streets and helps to solidify Fort Wayne as a hip retail destination.

The Golden, conceived by chefs Aaron Butts and Sean Richardson and sommelier Carmen McGee, offers fine dining in a casually cool environment with delicious and inventive craft cocktails and an impressive wine list (after all, McGee is responsible for this magazine’s fabulous wine column). With an ever-changing lunch and dinner menu and a special late-night menu to boot, The Golden (which originally had a roving, craft cocktail pop-up concept) is the latest and greatest foodie destination in Northeast Indiana. The Golden also offers a spectacular, true Sunday brunch for the whole family, a widely anticipated addition for downtown.

“We are very excited to be calling the Ash Skyline home for The Golden. We share many of the same principles (as Ash Brokerage): quality, excellent service and commitment to our community. It’s a perfect fit,” Butts said.

Come see the Ash Skyline Plaza at 888 Harrison St., between West Berry and West Wayne streets. Enjoy a meal, do some shopping, take a yoga class or pick up a piece (or three) of gourmet chocolate. The spacious and affordable new city-owned parking garage makes spending time in beautiful downtown Fort Wayne a snap.

First appeared in the August 2016 issue of Fort Wayne Magazine.

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