NEW ALBANY — La Catrina, a Mexican restaurant in New Albany, will open its business in a new facility to be built on an empty lot at Scribner and Market streets.

Co-owners and couple Roza and Juan Segoviano said the initial plan was to move but they are still unsure if the new location will replace the restaurant at 202 E. Elm St. or if it will be in addition to.

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Roza Segoviano, co-owner and executive chef at La Catrina in New Albany, said the Segovianos love downtown New Albany and its vibe, and this is a great opportunity to be a part of the development that is happening in the area.

“[We’re] maybe looking for an opportunity to elevate the concept a little bit more, so maybe kind of go from there,” Roza said.

The $3-million project, which was approved Tuesday by the New Albany Redevelopment Commission, will be a new 12,000-square-foot building. Along with the restaurant, the new building will accommodate the restaurant’s corporate offices.

“We’ve always wanted to build something from the ground up, and I think this is a perfect opportunity,” Juan said.

Roza said that they love downtown New Albany and its vibe, and this is a great opportunity to be a part of the development that is happening in the area.

New Albany’s economic development and redevelopment director, Josh Staten, said they are projecting 6,000 square feet could be used either for more office space or apartments. He said the group will further examine the market before deciding what will go in the space.

The first floor, which will house the restaurant, will also have 1,500 square feet that could be used for another retail space, though a specific business was not named.

La Catrina is working with Shireman Construction and Michell Allen Ritz Architects for the project.

David Allen, president of Michell Allen Ritz Architects, said that the building will include colorful, festive artwork and activities.

“I’m really impressed with Juan’s desire to integrate the interior of the building and the outside,” Allen said.

The building will include a rooftop garden that Allen says has a very festive atmosphere with lights and artwork.

“We looked at not just the building, but how it related to the site and how it related to other sites,” Allen said, noting that it’s an extension of what is good and working on Market Street right now.

Jeff Shireman said they expect to have the design phase of the project completed by the fall. He also noted that construction should take 12 months, so it should be finished by the end of 2023.

The corporate offices will be used for Segoviano Management Group, Inc. The Segovianos own several other restaurants including Señor Iguanas Restaurantes Mexicanos in Louisville and Clarksville, El Catrin in Sellersburg and Taqueria Don Juan in Clarksville.

The City of New Albany bought the property, which is a little less than an acre, in March from the federal government for $200,000. The city sold the land to the purchase group for a dollar, Staten said.

The city will see a return on its investment over time as property taxes begin to come in. This will be an increase in funds as the lot was not taxed when it was owned by the federal government, Staten said.

The project is also expected to bring 40 full-time employees into the second floor office space, and 30 temporary full-time employees who will work on construction, according to the city’s news release.

“It’s an opportunity to really set up one of the good restaurants we have downtown long-term,” Staten said at the meeting, “This all in all is a very good project, one that I think that fits in well with everything going on Market Street and in the downtown area.”

Redevelopment Commission member Jason Applegate said that having La Catrina further their business in New Albany bodes well for the future of the city.

“We really appreciate the opportunity…This is something that we will be proud to put our name on,” Applegate said.

Staten said that they received two responses for the Request for Proposals for the lot but the other responder withdrew. The project was approved by the redevelopment commission pending final legal review by the city attorney.

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