NEW ALBANY — Plenty of growth has been seen in New Albany in recent years, with new projects being announced or completed at a fairly frequent rate.
But much of that growth has been limited to a select few areas within the city. The improvement seen in downtown has progressively become more apparent over the past decade. More recently, areas along Interstate 265 — specifically its exits onto State Street, Grant Line Road and Charlestown Road — are blossoming as well.
Now, a new residential complex is set to bring a hefty amount of units to what some officials are referring to as the city’s “near north.”
In 2015, the New Albany-based veneer and lumber mill StemWood announced its closure after 110 years of operation. Since then, the Grant Line Road site abutting Walmart has sat idle.
It’s now been announced that developer Herman & Kittle will bring new life to the property in the form of a 192-unit residential development.
“It’s important to take properties that may have been something else but are unfortunately no longer viable and change them to meet the future needs of the city,” New Albany Redevelopment Director Josh Staten said. “That property is great for residential. It’s right next to a grocery, and right across the street from Community Park. It’s going to be a good project for the city of New Albany.”
According to Staten, the developers have cleared all the necessary approvals needed from the city, and are prepared to move forward with construction. The complex will include a pool and dog park, with several units varying in size.
Staten added that he is excited about the project, not only because it will bring in new residents, but because of how their presence could boost development along the section of Grant Line Road extending roughly from Walmart to Beechwood Avenue. The residential complex, he said, is a “huge piece” of the puzzle of revitalizing the corridor, with it being an anchor for what’s to come.
Recent improvements to Grant Line Road, including new pavement and sidewalks, will also play a role in how things play out, Staten noted.
“That went a long way in being able to bring in this development,” he said. “You’re talking a major influx of people right on that portion of Grant Line Road. Shop owners are going to look at that, and businesses are going to look at that. A lot of people means a good place to open up shops, restaurants and work places. That corridor is great for residential developments. There are areas for potential growth, and this a big piece of that revitalization.”
New Albany City Council member Josh Turner, whose District 5 neighbors the development, said the revitalization won’t be limited to Grant Line Road.
The areas along the interstates are doing well, and so is downtown, he said. That progressive growth is now at the point where attention is being given to areas in the middle, or the “near north.” Turner said he can’t think of a better way to drive continued growth than bringing in new residents.
Such an increase in population will likely boost his neighboring district along Charlestown Road, as well.
“This will bring a little more life into those areas,” Turner said. “You can see the potential for businesses to grow in the Colonial Manor area. A development like this, even though it’s not on Charlestown Road, will bleed off into our district. It’ll bring new things.”
Though several other residential projects have been announced throughout the city, several have units numbering in the dozens. The size of the StemWood development goes far beyond that.
Staten said that it’s part of a trend of new residential construction happening in New Albany. Over the next few years, there are close to 1,000 new residential units that will either be built or clear the approval process.
“We have a housing boom going on, but we also have a demand,” he said. “A lot of people want to live here, they want to go to our schools, and they want to come to our businesses. We have to continue bringing in new housing projects in order to meet the demands of the city.”