The former General Electric plant in Fort Wayne, which closed in 2015, has been brought back to life in spectacular fashion as Electric Works, a sprawling multi-use development that now houses a food hall and market featuring fresh and prepared foods, a bar, a co-working space, corporate offices and educational and community facilities. Additional development will include residential units as well.
Electric Works includes 18 historic buildings — the oldest built in about 1893 — with 1.2 million square feet of space. At its peak in 1944, at the height of WWII, GE employed about a third of Fort Wayne’s workforce. Now it’s home to a variety of food options, from burgers and burritos to pizza and pastries and more.
Modeled on many of the country’s most successful market halls, Union Street Market, which opened in November 2022, offers a range of regionally sourced foods and beverages in the historic former factory. Driven by its mission to support local farmers and food producers while enhancing community wellness and providing access to healthy foods, Union Street Market will feature 20-plus merchants open daily and also serve as the permanent home of the Ft. Wayne Farmers’ Market.
“Union Street Market integrates perfectly into the overall vision for Electric Works – rooted in history while striving for a future built in innovation, energy, and culture,” said Jeff Kingsbury of RTM Ventures, the development team behind Electric Works, in a release. “We’re committed to partner with food entrepreneurs who share our passion for increasing access to fresh, healthy food and providing a truly unique experience for the community, and those who appreciate the magic of an authentic market environment.”
The Market space that features soaring windows and garage doors opening onto an adjacent plaza. Union Street Market will cover more than 37,000 square feet and will provide merchants infrastructure and management services, enabling them to focus on producing and selling great food.
In addition, Electric Works has brought on nationally renowned public-market expert Ted Spitzer as director of market planning and development. Spitzer has helped many of the country’s iconic public markets, including Philadelphia’s Reading Terminal Market; Lexington Market in Baltimore; Eastern Market in Detroit; North Market in Columbus, Ohio; Essex Street Market in New York City; and Eastern Market in Washington D.C. He also led the development and programming for newly developed, award-winning markets, including the Milwaukee Public Market and the Grand Rapids Downtown Market.
“I’m excited to help the Electric Works team bring a world-class public market experience to Fort Wayne and northeast Indiana,” Spitzer said in the release. “This is a growing region, and it’s an ideal time for a true food hall and public market – and Electric Works will provide the perfect location for it.”
If you go: Free two-hour parking for visitors is available at the new Union Street Garage. Enter the garage from Broadway, just north of the railroad bridge at 1620 Broadway St., and follow the road toward the garage (past ongoing construction on campus). Once you park, you’ll have a short walk from the garage into the market. Walk west down the street next to the garage (away from Broadway), and turn left at the tunnel, painted blue with a mural. This will lead you to the market entrance. More information is available at unionstreetmarket.org.