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Jan. 23, 2024 | What to know about Google coming to Fort Wayne

Jan. 23, 2024 | What to know about Google coming to Fort Wayne

Hey Locals,

This past week was a big one for local news, with the reveal of the company behind Project Zodiac, Gnometown Brewing pulling out of the Landing, the Allen County Jail project being put on hold, the death of the city's first lady, Cindy Henry, and more. It can be hard to keep track of all the developments. But don't worry: We've got what you need to know below.

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Google is bringing its latest hyperscale data center to Southeast Fort Wayne.

A map of the planned Google campus via the City of Fort Wayne Plan Commission.

What's happening?

On Friday, Google announced it's the company behind Project Zodiac, which will bring a hyperscale data center to Southeast Allen County. Here's what you need to know:

  • What is a hyperscale data center? According to Google, hyperscale data centers are enormous facilities full of thousands of servers storing network databases, application software and other infrastructure for services like Google Search, Gmail, Google Drive, Artificial Intelligence and more. Google also offer these as paid services for non-Google companies, which are also hosted at Google data centers.
  • The campus will consist of 12 buildings on 892 acres of land near Adams Center, Paulding, and Tillman roads and is expected to cost around $845M.
  • The city-owned part of the property and recently annexed the rest. City Council approved a 50% tax abatement over the course of 10 years (the equivalent of about $55M). Google will pay a minimum of either $1M or $300K per building per year, whichever is larger, in taxes.
  • Mayor Tom Henry says: "This development is a once-in-a-generation opportunity that will bring excellent jobs, new economic development possibilities, and further strengthen our community’s place as an ideal location for businesses to invest."

Why it matters

A facility like this can have a tremendous impact on a community — economically, ecologically and politically. We outline some of the most significant effects (both positive and negative) in our premium newsletter with a 30-day free trial.

  • The Allen County Jail project is on hold. On Thursday, the county council voted against spending more than $3.6M in county funds on initial construction costs for the jail project and adding $6M to a new bond account. According to the Journal-Gazette, Council members "were against the idea of adding another $4M to the project bringing the total to roughly $321M, which they said would further burden taxpayers." As we've covered previously, county commissioners are under orders from a federal judge to improve conditions for incarcerated people in Allen County. Now the project is at a standstill, with a status hearing scheduled for Feb. 13.
  • GnomeTown is leaving the Landing. On Friday, GnomeTown Brewing announced it was pulling out of its collaboration with The Landing Beer Company, less than a year after joint operations began. Utopian is sticking around next door, and GnomeTown will still operate the Hoppy Gnome at Clinton and Berry, but it's unclear what will happen now in the space at 118 W. Columbia Street, formerly known simply as The Landing Beer Co. (We've got some feelers out and will let you know what we hear.)

Plus: a new plan for the Historic Northside, Amp Lab enrollment, and more. Read about these local stories in our premium newsletter.

Meet the Vessel Refillery:

An eco-friendly way to do your spring cleaning in Fort Wayne.

The Vessel Refillery FW (@vesselrefilleryfw) is a new eco-friendly home goods shop at 10376 Leo Rd., Ste G., in Leo Crossing.

What is it?

The Vessel Refillery FW (@vesselrefilleryfw) is a new shop at 10376 Leo Rd., Ste G., in Leo Crossing, offering a simple, greener way to clean your home and body. Instead of buying pre-packaged, single-use plastic containers of soap, laundry detergent and other household or body products, BYO refillable containers to this local shop, and pump them full of eco-friendly, non-toxic options available in bulk.

Why we love it:

Along with being a beautiful, new local shop to visit, the Vessel Refillery FW has a powerful eco-friendly purpose. It helps reduce our consumption of single-use plastics and potentially toxic beauty and cleaning products around the home. It also gives us a good use for those empty jars and containers we already own.

  • At our first visit, we found some great products, including an organic Aveda rosemary mint shampoo dupe and a tea tree scented multi-purpose cleaner that's come in handy around the house.
  • Shop-owner Heather Eracleous is friendly and eager to answer any questions you might have about her business or products, so take your time to browse (and smell) the options on her shelves.
  • She also carries used books and work by local and regional artists, as well as candles, reusable water bottles, scrubbers, pet products and more!

Eracleous says:

"Our multipurpose cleaner, toilet bombs, plant-based laundry detergent and facial scrub are wonderful sellers in the refillery. Personally, I would recommend those, as well as our goats milk lotion, which is spectacular. Our dog poopie bags are compostable and biodegradable, which are great for those with four-legged family members. But I would absolutely recommend our natural deodorants, as they work wonderfully and smell great."

Learn more in our full interview!

  • Attend: the 2024 kickoff of Creator Space on Jan. 27 at The Rose Room/Papi's Pizza on The Landing.
  • Watch: The premier of This Town Rocked!, a new documentary on Fort Wayne's punk and hardcore scenes, at Indiana Tech's Magee O'Connor Theatre. Jan. 26-27 at 7 and 9 p.m.
  • Warm up: at the "Winter Cozy: 80s Après Ski" dance party Jan. 27 from 6-10 p.m. at Promenade Park's Park Foundation Pavilion ($10 cover). The night features music by Ty Causey, ice sculptures, fire pits and food. (It's part of the 13th annual Winterval, a full day of festivities Downtown, from hikes to races, special exhibits and more!)

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Have a great week, Locals!

-Ryan Schnurr (guest editing for Kara and Mike)