Future Up In The Air For GE Broadway Campus

By Jeff Neumeyer

October 19, 2012 Updated Oct 19, 2012 at 5:35 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (www.incnow.tv) --- A symbol of economic vitality is weakened again this week, with word that General Electric is moving out more workers from its Broadway campus downtown.

It raises questions about what may happen to a complex with a storied history in Fort Wayne.

At its zenith in the late 1940's, GE's Motors Division supported more than 10,000 manufacturing jobs in the city.

Those days are long gone.

Fewer than 200 people are on GE's payroll now and this week, the company announced, come January, 130 workers still getting a paycheck on the Broadway campus will be re-located to the Executive Center Office Building on Coliseum Boulevard, all in the name of cutting operational costs.

It means 30 people will report to the 1,000,000 square foot Broadway complex, testing and modifying low-voltage motors made someplace else.

Among the cluster of buildings, the only one that will continue to operate is Building 26.The others will be weatherized, updated, and put up for sale."

" We think it's a good sign they are going to maintain a small presence there," said John Perlich, with Mayor Henry’s staff.

Perlich says it would be premature to speculate on what lies ahead for the GE Broadway campus.

" With downtown continuing to develop and have positive momentum, we have a good feeling about the long-term campus there," said Perlich.

" My grandfather hopped off a train in 1917 and got a job working here, and my father worked here, and I worked here," said Tom Lewandowski, who now runs the Central Labor Council for this region.

He calls on GE to restore hundreds, if not thousands of good paying jobs on the downtown site.

But at the least, he thinks the company has an obligation to maintain a property that we can all be proud of.

" We'd love to see it humming with workers, but beyond that, it ought to be kept as a real symbol of Fort Wayne," said Lewandowski.

The local Economic Development Alliance has had meetings with GE about the property's future, but a GE spokesperson told me no definite plans have emerged.




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