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December 12, 2012

Developer questions city’s aim for New Albany's riverfront corridor

New Albany Horizons granted extension on payment for property

NEW ALBANY — Developers who once proposed a $30 million project in downtown New Albany want to know the city’s vision for the riverfront area before proceeding with any investments.

On Tuesday, the New Albany Redevelopment Commission extended the due date on a mortgage note for six parcels of public property off Bank Street owed by the group New Albany Horizons LLC. In 2008, the commission agreed to sell the parcels to the group for $107,500, with final payment due by the end of this year. So far, the group has only paid property taxes on the lots.

New Albany Horizons already owns land around the public property, and eyed the parcels as part of its plan to construct residential, commercial and office space near the corridor of Bank and Main Streets.

Carl Holliday — a partner in New Albany Horizons — told the redevelopment commission Tuesday the group hasn’t started the project because of uncertainty over what will be developed around the property.

The city controls two key pieces of land near the six parcels that had been sought by Mainland Properties for the proposed River View development. However, the commission earlier this year rescinded an option on the two lots for Mainland Properties to allow Mayor Jeff Gahan’s administration to seek new request-for-proposals, or RFP, for the land.

New Albany Horizons has ownership of the property, with payment due on its note. Mainland Properties only had an option on the two public lots it sought for River View.

As for New Albany Horizons, Holliday initially requested a two-year extension on the note “until the city makes a decision on the entire riverfront area.”

“We’ve been kind of in a holding position,” he said.

Holliday said he met recently with Economic Developer David Duggins and Gahan, and was told the city may incorporate the New Albany Horizons’ property in a new plan for the corridor.

Parking is a big factor in terms of what the city may elect to pursue in the area.

Duggins said the city has an obligation to provide adequate parking for the Floyd County branch of the YMCA of Southern Indiana, which is adjacent to the properties in question. Proposed parking garages for the area range from $4 million to $12 million, and would have to be footed with public funds, Duggins continued. He said the administration is investigating ways “to make the parking structure smaller, but still live up to our obligations at the Y.”

Diane Benedetti, city council president and redevelopment member, requested the due date for the $107,500 payment be extended until Jan. 31 to allow the matter to be taken under consideration.

Irving Joshua, president of the redevelopment commission, said there’s no timetable on when the RFP for the former River View lots or plan for the corridor may be finished.

“We don’t know for sure how long that process is going to be before we get a clear picture as to who may be in that adjacent space,” Joshua told Holliday.

 

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