The old story has it that retail mogul Les Wexner (of the Limited, Victoria's Secret, etc.) told a friend he had an idea for "a place in the country." That vision became the developments in and around the once sleepy village of New Albany, Ohio. Homes large and small sprouted up everywhere. Today, New Albany is also teeming with commercial developments, as an increasing number of office parks, business headquarters and others move into the booming region northeast of Columbus.
And now, retail development is beginning to catch up with the abundance of office construction that’s taken place in the past decade in New Albany. New Albany Market, at the northwest corner of Rt. 161 and New Albany Road, will offer a large, new Giant Eagle supermarket, a small strip shopping center and several service-oriented outlots among its planned 150,000 square feet of developed space. The Shoppes at Smiths Mill retail center is coming along just off the S.R. 62 interchange. Work also is to begin on an expansion of the Market Square retail center in the village center.Retailers will serve those who work in area offices as well as the growing number of new residents.
"There’s quite a bit of residential activity happening to the north of the expressway," Bill Ebbing, president of New Albany Co., told the Columbus Dispatch in a recent interview. "You just don’t see it until you get out and drive around. There are 8,400 employees in the business park, too." Adjacent to the Giant Eagle, Northstar Realty plans to develop 40,000 square feet of shopping-center space. Leases are still being negotiated, but Northstar partner Jason Zadeh said they’ll reflect a community retail theme. That includes banks, personal services and restaurants, with many in place by Q4. Chase and National City are developing bank outlots near the supermarket, and four other parcels there for restaurant and retail development.
The park has exploded in the past three years, with nearly 700,000 square feet of office development, including buildings for American Electric Power, EMH&T, the New Albany Surgical Hospital and a large expansion by Abercrombie & Fitch. Additionally, a venture including the New Albany Co., Daimler Group, Georgetown and Capitol Square Ltd. has started work on a 90,000-square-foot building for Commercial Vehicle Group. Also, Tween Brands is expanding its campus by 60,000 square feet, which will boost the size of the business park to 2.5 million square feet. With the completion this year of the interchange at Rt. 161 and Beech Road , an added 1,000 acres will open up to development. The 120,000-square-foot second phase of the Market Square development in the village center has been cleared by New Albany government.
There is hardly any time to catch your breath while watching how fast development is occurring in and around the once quaint village of New Albany.