NEW ALBANY — An iconic New Albany property could soon see new life.
Steinert's Grill and Pub, located near the intersection of Silver Street and Charlestown Road, was a local landmark and watering hole for decades, with the building having been there since 1877. All of that history was lost over a decade ago, when the structure was destroyed in a 2008 fire.
In the years since, the property at 2239 Charlestown Road has sat vacant, with nothing but the Steinert's sign standing as a remnant among the empty asphalt. Now, developers have plans to fill the void with a $3.5 million, three-story apartment building.
Vitor Bueno said NB Develop set its eyes on the property in part due to its well-known former occupant.
"Steinert's has been a place that a lot of people have come through and have a lot of family memories at," he said. "I think that's a nice part of the site. With it being on top of a hill in a three-story building, people can have a nice view of New Albany."
Plans call for 24 units, half of which will have two bedrooms and two bathrooms and the other half having one bedroom and one bathroom. Units will range in size from 754 square feet to 1,131 square feet.
"We're trying to look at young people or people who have a small family," Bueno said. "It's a nice, ambient environment."
Access points to the development will exist on Charlestown Road and the back alley via Silver Street. The entrance will be on the far side so as to not impede traffic at the busy intersection of the two roads.
To accommodate residents, 43 parking spots are currently planned, with the developers also considering covered garages.
"I think that adds value to the property," Bueno said. "Sometimes, people will want to store things, so it makes sense."
On Wednesday, the New Albany Board of Zoning Appeals approved a variance allowing the structure to be 147 feet long. Current ordinances only allow for structures in this zoning area to be 80 feet long.
Another design called for two 80-foot long buildings, but such a layout would create narrow side yards on the perimeter of the project.
"It's more aesthetic than anything," director Scott Wood said. "If you had two 80-feet buildings there, you'd probably have about a 15 or 20-foot side yard. With a three-story building, it'd just be in shade most of the time, and it'd be uninviting and unattractive."
The next step, Bueno said, is to have architects finalize a design for the structure. He added that he hopes to get construction started by spring of 2020, with an expected duration of at least 12 months.
The section of New Albany in which the building will sit has not seen much development in recent years. Bueno said that by constructing new, attractive housing, more upgrades will come to the area.
"If you go to the surrounding areas, you'll see that there's not much left there," he said. "We're betting this is going to change the area, and we believe we can attract new tenants."
Wood noted that the city has tried to incentivize the revitalization of these types of properties.
"Some of these inner-city tracts that have been leapfrogged or have become obsolete over the years, we're trying to pull that in and do infill type of stuff," he said. "That's something the comprehensive plan and zoning ordinance have tried to incentivize. It's encouraging to me to see that developers have been looking at those sites."