Gary sues tech firm to regain Genesis Center, housing site

The Gary Redevelopment Commission is suing to regain the city’s Genesis Center and former Ivanhoe Gardens housing site from Akyumen Industries after the California-based tech company reneged on two contracts, the mayor said.

“My team and I will continue to look for ways we can make the most of vacant or underutilized properties and put them on our tax rolls, and these two properties will be ideal for the right developers,” Gary Mayor Jerome Prince said. “We can never move our city forward until we’re willing to try new approaches to development.”

The commission filed its lawsuit in Lake Superior Court, The (Northwest Indiana) Times reported Thursday.

The commission and Akyumen struck a deal last fall for the company to buy the 27-acre housing site for $50,000. The company said at the time that it expected to build a new plant at the site that would employ up to 2,000 people. Los Angeles-based Akyumen makes smartphones, tablets and smart watches.

Akyumen founder and CEO Aasim Saied did not immediately return requests for comment.

Gary said Akyumen failed to pay $2.5 million it owed on the Genesis Center by July 27. The city said the default nullified the deal and exposed the company to a $100,000 liquidated damages fee. The redevelopment commission said the deal to buy the Ivanhoe property also fell through after Akyumen defaulted on its promise to provide a development agreement.

The city is seeking $27,500 in fees for the Ivanhoe default and to regain full control over both properties.

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