Northeast Indiana

2021 – Q2 Market Report

Market Overview

The northeast region of Indiana includes eleven counties: LaGrange, Steuben, Noble, DeKalb, Whitley, Wabash, Huntington, Wells, Adams, Kosciusko, and Allen. Fort Wayne is located in Allen county and is the cultural and economic hub of northeastern Indiana. The region is served by the Fort Wayne International Airport and is at the confluence of several major highways and Interstate 69. Fort Wayne is within a 200-mile radius of major cities including Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Detroit, Indianapolis, Louisville, and Milwaukee. It’s also within a one-day drive of one-third of the United States population and one-fifth of Canada’s.

Fort Wayne is the second largest city in Indiana. Allen County has had positive net migration over the last five years, and 2019 had the highest population increase in 20 years. The city is attracting new residents with its abundant amenities combined with its low cost of living. The city is ranked first on Niche’s, “Cities with the Lowest Cost of Living in America” list in 2021. Fort Wayne has been investing in its downtown with a number of transformative projects. The city invested $681 million in projects just in 2020. They’ve also added a number of projects across the city that include the expansion and building of new museums, hotels, parks, greenway trails, and meeting facilities.

Target industries that drive the region’s economy are diverse including distribution, specialty insurance, medical devices and technology, manufacturing, professional and business services, design and creative services, agriculture, transportation and logistics. Major employers in Northeast Indiana include Parkview Health Systems, Steel Dynamics, General Motors, Lincoln Financial Group, BF Goodrich, Frontier Communications, Vera Bradley, Sweetwater Sound, Raytheon, and Nestlé.

There are eight different specialty insurance companies located in the northeast region, including – Lincoln National Life Insurance Company, MedPro Group, Brotherhood Mutual, American Specialty, Swiss Re Group, PHP, INGUARD, and Ash Brokerage Corporation. Abundant access to specialty insurance in this region creates an incredibly business-friendly environment.

Warsaw, Indiana, located in Kosciusko County is a leader in the orthopedic and biologics industry and has earned the title of “Orthopedic Capital of the World.” Northeast Indiana is home to three of the five largest orthopedic device companies. Medical device companies located in the region generate $19 billion in revenue and control 39.5% of the worldwide orthopedic market.

Fort Wayne has racked up an impressive list of accolades and rankings. Here are a few

  • The Indiana Chamber of Commerce named Fort Wayne as its 2020 PNC Community of the Year.
  • Ranked #2 on U.S. News & World Report’s “Most Affordable Places to Live in the U.S. in 2021-2022”
  • Ranked #2 on U.S. News & World Report’s “Most Affordable Places to Live in the U.S. in 2021-2022”
  • Ranked #3 on WalletHub’s, “Best Run Cities in America”, up from #8 in 2020.
  • Ranked #5 on SmartAsset’s, “Best Cities for First-Time Homebuyers”
  • Ranked #7 on Credit Karma’s, “The 10 Most Affordable Cities For Millennials to Buy a Home”.

Fort Wayne is also a four-time winner of the All American City awards from the National League of Cities, winning the title again in 2021. The spotlight for this year’s award was building equity and resilience.

Northeast Indiana has a growing, business-friendly environment. The wide variety of employment opportunities and exceptional amenities will continue to attract new residents.





Median Household Income



35% Highschool
30% Some College
24% Bach/Grad+

Total Businesses


Total Employees


Source: Esri

Industrial OVerview

supply is still struggling to keep pace with demand

Demand continues to be high for industrial product in Northeast Indiana. Supply is struggling to keep pace as new spec buildings are leasing up before construction is finished. There are two new spec buildings in New Haven, which is east of Fort Wayne. A 150,000 square-foot spec building at 110785 Rose Avenue is already fully leased. The facility just completed construction in Q2. Lunar Distribution, which is a distributor and wholesaler for a publisher of comic books, has leased the entire 150,000 square-foot building. The company was founded in Fort Wayne last year by the same owner of Discount Comic Book Service (DCBS) and InStockTrades. The other two companies will sublease 50,000 square feet. DCBS and Lunar had outgrown smaller spaces they were leasing in Fort Wayne. The new space will also allow them to create approximately 130 new jobs. The other spec building is scheduled for completion in Q3 2021.

Also in New Haven, a gourmet popcorn company is relocating from the Chicago metro area. Dell Cove has leased 7,000 square feet at 1221 Hartzell Street. The company plans to hire 50 workers for the new facility.¹

Noble County is also seeing some industrial activity. Whitley Manufacturing has proposed a 75,000 square-foot spec building that would be expandable to 100,000 square feet. The property is located at Weston Avenue and Ohio Street in Kendallville. The
company is seeking tax incentives for the project.² Hendrickson, an automotive parts manufacturer, also located in Kendallville, wants to expand their facilities. The company has approximately 200 workers. The expansion would represent a $1.75 million
investment adding 17,725 square feet to an existing 65,000 square foot facility. Construction could start next year.³ Avilla, also in Noble County, received $1.3 million from The U.S. Economic Development Administration to finish infrastructure on a new 40 acre industrial park at State Road 8 and State Road 3.⁴

The Huntington County town of Markle will soon have its own spec building. Construction recently started on a 200,000 SF facility that will be expandable to 400,000 SF with an anticipated delivery of December 2021.

In Warsaw, Reinholt’s Town Square Furniture leased a 12,000 square-foot industrial building at U.S. Highway 30 and North 200 West.

Northeast Indiana had 25 industrial sales in Q2 according to data from Reonomy, with at least four sales that were over $1 million. The largest was Wright Medical in Columbia City witch sold for $5.45 million in May. There were twelve sales in Fort Wayne alone with the rest scattered throughout the Northeast region.

The Dairy Farmers of America announced it was closing its ice cream facility in Decaur in Adams County. The facility employed over 160 workers. The plant will close in September.⁵ While one ice cream maker is closing their facility, Dreyer’s is expanding theirs in Fort Wayne. They plan to invest $145 million which will add 145 jobs by 2024. Dreyer’s already employs approximately 400 people.⁶


  • Rising construction costs for all building materials will continue to impact new projects and ultimately lead to higher rents.
  • More supply is needed to meet the current demand.
  • Lease rates for existing properties range from $3-6 per square-foot.


Source: Real Capital Analytics


Source: Real Capital Analytics


Q1 2021 Northeast Indiana Report

Source: Real Capital Analytics

Office Overview

vacancy rates began to decline in q2 with rents slightly up

Fort Wayne has had positive population growth for the past five years and attracted more residents in 2020 due to its low cost of living. The city has spent $1 billion over the last decade on revitalizing downtown.¹ It’s no surprise that downtown office space is always in demand. The new Star Bank headquarters began construction in Q2 with a completion date in 2022. The project will add a 7-story and 3-story tower that will have 70,000
square feet total with some being allocated to retail. Another new project is in the early stages. It’s a proposal exceeding $150 million and calls for a professional soccer stadium, field house, event center, and hotel. Restaurants, residential, office and public spaces, as well as parking, are also included.¹

In Q2 there were 64 office sales in the Northeast region, according to Reonomy. Nine of the sales were classified as medical office. The average size of the buildings sold was
approximately 9,000 square feet. The highest sale price was in the north Fort Wayne submarket. Ares Management purchased7614 Opportunity Drive as part of a 213-property portfolio. The 180,226 square-foot property is a mix of office and industrial and sold for $346 per square-foot.²

Vacancy rates and asking rents continued to remain stable in Q22021. The market has largely remained stable for the last several years with little fluctuation.

Fort Financial Credit Union is building a new 27,000 square-foot headquarters at 8815 Lima Road on the north side of Fort Wayne. The project broke ground in Q2 and is expected to be complete by July 2022. The property will also include a full service bank. Their current corporate office is located 7 miles south at 3102 Spring Street.³

A 25,000 square-foot office building in downtown Huntington has a new owner. Kitchen 17, a vegan food concept, is relocating from Chicago. The business was created by Huntington natives who plan to invest $1 million to buy and renovate the former Herald Press building. Last year the company started selling frozen pizzas and the business took off. They were out of space at the Chicago restaurant. The new location will be their
headquarters and will include a photo and video production studio for their marketing component, Smiley Face Media. In addition the site will include a production kitchen and they will also package and ship from the facility. More plans include a rooftop urban farm, a restaurant, coworking and maker space. They plan to create up to 64 jobs by 2024. Kitchen 17 still operates a vegan restaurant in Chicago that was named the number two
Best Vegan Restaurant in the United States by VegOut magazine and number two on their list of 10 Best Vegan Pizza Spots Across America.⁴


  • Vacancy rates started to decline in Q2. Asking rents slightly increased in Q2 2021.
  • The market saw 48,000 square feet of positive absorption in Q2 2021.
  • As a result of the city’s $1 billion investment in revitalizing the downtown area, office space in this part of town continues to be in demand.


  1. Greater Fort Wayne Business Weekly
  2. Real Capital Analytics
  3. Inside Indiana Business
  4. Indiana Economic Development Corporation – press release


Source: REIS


Source: REIS


Source: Real Capital Analytics

Retail Overview

Retail activity increased along with asking rents

Retail leasing activity picked up in Q2 as more mixed-use projects are underway. As a result, more retail space will attract tenants looking to open new stores and restaurants into the market.

The Landing opened in late 2019 on Columbia Street in downtown Fort Wayne. The $32.2 million project contains a mix of apartments and commercial space in fully renovated existing buildings and new construction. It’s one of the city’s oldest streets and had fallen into decay. Now it’s a vibrant area with Columbia Street now closed to traffic making it a destination downtown. All the ground floor space is leased to a mix of restaurants and retail with a new restaurant opening in the fall. The developer, The Model Group, has now
proposed a new building for the site to add 11 more apartments and possibly more retail in a 3-story building. The city is considering the proposal.¹

The Bradley Hotel has opened in downtown Fort Wayne. The boutique hotel by Barbara Bradley Baekgaard, the founder of Vera Bradley, is a unique hotel property featuring her designs and with a focus on local art. The 5-story 126 room property also features a rooftop bar and restaurant.²

Jefferson Pointe in Fort Wayne continues to see activity with three new restaurants announced in Q2 and Beer Barrel Pizza & Grill, which was previously announced, opening in August.³ BurgerFi, which has one other location in the market on the north side will open near Old Navy in a 2,037 square-foot space in the fall. Yats, a regional Cajun Creole chain, has leased a 2,037 square-foot space across from Eddie Bauer. Yats is based in Indianapolis with 12 locations in three states. Taps Fishhouse, which currently has four
locations (three in California and one in Arizona), will be locating to a 5,260 square-foot space next to Barnes & Noble. However, Barnes & Noble announced they are leaving Jefferson Pointe and relocating across the street to Orchard Crossing near Target and will open there in September. The owners of Jefferson Pointe, RED Development,
 ave stated a new tenant will take the former Barnes & Noble space but more details aren’t yet available.⁴ Jefferson Pointe currently has 11 vacancies that total 35,820 square feet representing a 10.2% vacancy rate excluding one vacant outlot.

Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers is opening at the corner of DuPont and Diebold Road in North Ft. Wayne, near the Parkview Regional Medical Center. A timeline for completion has not yet been established.

In Warsaw in Kosciusko County, a former Schoopes restaurant was demolished to make way for a Popeye’s at 3501 Lake City Hwy across from the Lake Village Shopping Center.

The Bradley Company’s Warsaw office closed on a portfolio sale (business and real estate) of 6 Pizza King locations (Columbia City, North Webster, Silver Lake, Syracuse, and two in Warsaw). They were sold by the franchisee back to corporate for $2,415,000.

Cap n’ Cork, a liquor store with 15 locations in Allen County, was purchased by Big Red Liquors which has 60 locations mainly concentrated in the Indianapolis metro and Bloomington, Indiana. Can n’ Cork will continue operating without a name change.


  • Retail vanacy rates starting to slowly decline in Q2 to 16.9%

  • Asking rents declined in Q4 2020 but have been increasing since Q1 2021.

  • The market did see some positive absorption in Q2 with approximately 31,000 square feet leased.


Source: REIS


Source: REIS


Source: Real Capital Analytics