NEW ALBANY — Vincennes Street will soon be getting another shot in the arm.
Developer Chad Sprigler recently purchased 802 to 810 Vincennes St. and plans on building seven owner-occupied townhomes at that location. Last week two vacant homes and an old commercial building were torn down to make way for the townhomes.
New Albany Redevelopment Director Josh Staten said the townhomes will cost around $180,000 each once completed. He said with Lancaster Lofts being constructed at the corner of Market and Vincennes streets, and with the townhomes planned for the 800 block of Vincennes Street, the city’s Uptown area is definitely getting a boost.
“We are really excited about it,” Staten said. “Our big push right now is for owner-occupied housing so we are happy about the townhomes. We think the Uptown neighborhood has a bright future.”
New Albany Mayor Jeff Gahan said for years, while stopped at the light at Ekin and Vincennes Street, he would look at the corner and think of the possibilities that could happen there.
“It’s always been a block where we could do better,” he said. “With the help of the redevelopment commission and a public, private partnership, big improvements are coming there. I am thrilled with that.”
The city put out a Request for Proposal for the property and accepted Sprigler’s plan. Construction should begin soon and Staten said the townhomes should be finished by early- to mid-2020.
“You like to rehab property but sometimes that is not possible. We feel like this is the best use for that property,” Staten said.
New Albany At-Large City Councilman Dave Barksdale, who is also the Floyd County Historian, said he hated to see the structures torn down but is excited about the townhomes. He is a member of the redevelopment commission.
“I wish we could have incorporated those two homes into the plan, but they were in pretty bad shape,” he said. “The project is remarkable and I think it will fit very well into the neighborhood. It will help that corridor.”
Barksdale said business owners in the area meet once a month to discuss issues and ways to improve the area.
“There are a lot of exciting things happening to Vincennes Street ... there is an ice cream shop, bakery. It’s a grass roots effort,” he said. “Chad is putting up a good product there and it will be owner-occupied which is definitely needed in New Albany.”
Two blocks down from the townhomes another eyesore will soon see new life. Andy Carter, who has restored property throughout the city including Underground Station, recently purchased 624 Vincennes St. and plans on putting both residential and commercial inside the building once it is rehabbed.
“It takes a lot of moving pieces, the administration, active business owners and active neighborhood groups,” Staten said of rehabilitating an area. “This is definitely a shot in the arm for that neighborhood. Something new is coming to the north end [Vincennes Street], south end and a restoration project in the middle. I am excited about Vincennes Street.”
Staten thinks there is more construction and rehabilitation to take place in the Uptown neighborhood in the near future. He said the area has “a great mix” of older homes and newer construction.
“Each side of Vincennes really has dense neighborhoods. You see older people downsizing and young people looking to buy their first home. It has so much potential.”
An Uptown mural is also being painted on the side of the building at 1638 Spring St. which is also being rehabilitated.