Main Street grows up.
It seems appropriate that downtown New Albany is about to join, for the first time, a U.S. trend of residents choosing to rent homes instead of buying them. And it's no surprise that these rental options are popular given the community's penchant for building high-end neighborhoods with a residential tax structure that matches.
Workers are putting finishing touches on the $27 million, 128-unit Market & Main apartment complex set in the middle of the city's gleaming hub—its 50,000-square-foot office and retail area known as theVillage Center. In March, antsy renters had already agreed to lease about 25 percent of the one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments.
By fall, apartments built in the middle of the community's cozy center, within walking distance of Starbucks and a quick drive to the New Albany schools are expected to be full. They also will be within walking distance of several neighborhoods where home prices soar well over $600,000.
Tenants will start moving in by July and the 264,000-square-foot complex—with its rather striking resemblance to a university campus— should be full by September, predicts Frank Sasso, president of Kaufman Development.
Kaufman partnered with the New Albany Co. and Daimler Group to build the three-story complex, which spans both sides of Main Street on the south side of the Market and Main roundabout.
“We expect these to appeal to a wide audience,” Sasso says. “These provide the ability for people to live close to all of the activities and other things going on.”
Renting these days has renewed appeal. Last summer, a Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. Census Bureau housing data reported that more households—nearly 37 percent—were headed by renters than at any point since at least 1965.
“We took an approach on these units to make them larger than we typically do,” he says. “And they are higher end in terms of finishing.”
Most of the apartments have granite counters, hardwood and tile floors, wood-stained cabinets, high-end appliances and balconies.
Monthly rents range from $1,185 for a 648-square-foot, one-bedroom unit to $1,635 for a two-bedroom, 1,195-square-foot apartment to $3,500 for a three-bedroom, 1,640-square-foot apartment. Renters can join the Philip Heit Center for Healthy New Albany for a reduced fee, adds its namesake Phil Heit.
“We are all about prevention and creating a culture of health in New Albany, so we encourage people living here to use the facility,” Heit says.
The development's convenience to restaurants and shops in the Village Center is expected to attract both empty nesters and those who may be part of the 15,000-person workforce in the nearby business park, says Jennifer Chrysler, the city's director of community development.
“We believe this is a good market for millennials who don't want a commute but would rather ride their bikes or walk to work,” Chrysler says. “We also hope it will attract those who have been living in the community and who want to stay here and age in place.”
Tom Rubey, vice president of the New Albany Co., says the availability of housing alternatives has long been a vision for the Village Center.
“This is a result of our next-generation projects and the result of the growth and success we've seen in the business park,” Rubey says. “There are two parks that will also be developed, and it all fits with the character we've already established.”
Brian Kent Jones Architects Inc., Architectural Alliance Ltd. and NBBJ were the project's architecture and design firms, while EMH&T was the engineer.