General Electric is preparing to tear down three of the 13 buildings on its dormant 1 million-square-foot campus near downtown Fort Wayne, but a company official says the iconic lighted “GE” sign is safe – at least for now.
“We have no plans for it, and we're open if somebody in the community has a use for it,” spokesman Matt Conkrite said of the sign that this week was included in historic preservation group ARCH's annual list of “most endangered” structures. Although the building bearing the sign is not included among the buildings on the east side of Broadway to be razed, Conkrite said the sign will at some point be taken from the roof and placed in storage – but not forever.
General Electric, which once employed more than 10,000 people in Fort Wayne, announced in March it would close its last two remaining operations here, eliminating about 90 jobs. Parts of the campus along Broadway dates back top the late 1800s.
Conkrite said demolition of buildings 7, 8 and 9 could begin within weeks, and will comply with state and federal regulations for environmental remediation.
Conkrite said clean-up work has already begun in some of the buildings, with the removal of water, mold and copper and other valuable metals in preparation for sale or future demolition.
Conkrite said GE has talked with city officials about possible redevelopment of some of the remaining buildings, but added that nothing has been arranged.