It seems ironic, but river towns often overlook one of their main assets: the river. But a proposed mixed-use development in New Albany is seeking to reconnect the town with its roots.
Mainland Properties LLC’s $42 million River View development will include office, retail and residential space along the river in downtown New Albany.
“The main purpose is to connect the city back to the river,” said Anita Massey, marketing and business development director for Schaefer General Contracting, which is set to handle construction on the project. “The levee basically creates a barrier between the city and the river.”
The development, which is to be located behind the Riverfront Amphitheater and next to the new Floyd County YMCA branch, would have 30,000 to 35,000 square feet of retail space and the same amount of office space.
The upper levels of the development (portions of which will be seven to eight stories tall) would have 100 to 150 condominiums priced from $150,000 to $300,000 per unit, Massey said.
The city of New Albany owns the land to be developed, and Mainland has asked the city to pledge $12 million toward building a two-level, 550-space public parking garage and a public plaza, said Carl Malysz, New Albany deputy mayor and director of community development.
An additional $6 million would be needed to open up a 600-foot section of the levee and replace it with a federally-approved gate system, Malysz said.
“It would in effect create a riverfront development,” he said.
Malysz said the city would need to finance its portion of the project through increased property tax revenues the city would receive if the complex is built.
The city has commissioned an analysis on how much tax revenue the development would generate over the next 20 years, and those results will be presented to the New Albany Redevelopment Commission and the New Albany City Council in mid February.
“We’re all very excited about it,” Malysz said. “We’re guardedly optimistic that the new development will create the cash flow” to fund the city’s portion of the project.
“We’re really trying to give downtown New Albany a new and revitalized purpose,” Malysz said.
Mainland hopes to break ground in September with a spring 2014 completion date, Massey said.
Local and national companies have expressed “strong interest” in leasing retail space, Massey said, but it is too early to reveal any names.
Blue Sun Realty, which is handling condo sales, receives 25 to 30 calls a month from people interested in the condos, Massey said.
The Mainland Properties LLC team includes President Jack Bobo, Schaefer General Contracting Services, Putney Architecture, Blue Sun Real Estate and Anderson Partners LLC.
Massey added that she has heard many positive responses from New Albany residents, but she gets a reoccurring question: “When are you going to start?”
On the web: www.riverviewnewalbany.com.
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