Planting a SEED

The Summit City Entrepreneur and Enterprise District, or SEED, offers tax incentives to attract, retain and grow local businesses.
Nov 5, 2019
Jennifer Blomquist
Steve Vorderman
Planting a SEED

Entrepreneur Mike Kelly knows the challenges of starting and growing a business.

“In 2001, I founded Calienté, LLC, with one simple goal: providing high quality, innovative heating, cooling and control systems to help businesses lower costs and achieve their business objectives,” says Kelly.

He bought a building on East Wallace Street in Fort Wayne, expanded it, renovated it and got to work.

Kelly took advantage of the local SEED program, formerly known as the Urban Enterprise Association. 

By locating his business within the designated SEED footprint, he was eligible for a state tax benefit that exempted his company from paying personal property taxes for ten years on that investment.

“As a company in growth mode, cash is key for Calienté’s continued expansion. Locating in the SEED allowed us to put an anchor down by purchasing our own building, with the added benefit of a 10-year tax abatement on building improvements and equipment purchases. Those are real dollars saved, and that translates 

into real jobs for people in the urban core of Fort Wayne,” says Kelly.

SEED helps businesses grow.

“Legislative changes were made in 2018 so that SEED has more of a focus on entrepreneurship,” says Trois Hart, director of SEED Fort Wayne. “It’s narrowing the focus to concentrate on startups and assisting businesses to scale. We work to retain the businesses that are here and to attract new ones.”

Hart says state legislation was modified last year to allow for two additional benefits.

“First, it expanded the eligible expenses for personal property from straight manufacturing to include logistics, technology and research and development. Second, with any personal property that was purchased in 2018 forward, the 30 percent ‘floor’ was eliminated. For example, prior to 2018, if you purchased a large piece of equipment, that personal property would depreciate over time, but it would never be taxed below 30 percent. That piece of equipment could be 20 years old and you’d still be paying 30 percent personal property tax on it. Now, you buy your equipment and it can depreciate to zero. It’s a big benefit for large capital expenses.”

The original SEED footprint comprised the area along the Pennsylvania Railroad when International Harvester closed. Thirty-five years later, the city has expanded that footprint to include the corridors emanating out of downtown: South Calhoun, North and South Anthony, Fairfield, Broadway, Bluffton, Goshen, Wells and East Coliseum Boulevard.

Hart says everyone wins when businesses take advantage of SEED.

“Vacant buildings and under-utilized spaces don’t help property values and they don’t provide jobs to people living nearby. Calienté is a great example of a business thriving through SEED. This isn’t a tax giveaway. This is about investing in your business and using that investment to grow and benefit the company and the community.” 

Summit City Entrepreneur and Enterprise District (SEED) DISTRICT GOVERNED BY SEED FORT WAYNE 501(C)(3) REDEVELOPMENT ORGANIZATION In partnership with the City of Fort Wayne

Address: 1830 Wayne Trace Fort Wayne, Indiana 46803

Phone: (260) 422-2304

Website: SEEDfw.org

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