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New life for New Albany business complex

This is what Colonial Manor in New Albany may look like following a major overhaul. (photo courtesy: city of New Albany)

An aging strip mall in New Albany is getting new life after the city’s redevelopment commission this week pledged significant financial support to the project.

The commission voted to spend $1 million for infrastructure, lighting, and parking lot improvements on Colonial Manor along Charlestown Road, an area targeted for enhancements by the city.

Developer Brian Forrest of Hoagland Commercial Realtors last year purchased Colonial and said he intends to invest $6.5 million for improvements.

“Revitalization efforts have been kick-started by Mr. Forrest and the New Albany Redevelopment Commission,” said New Albany Mayor Jeff Gahan. “We will now move forward with the best possible option and begin resurrecting the Charlestown Road corridor immediately.”

Gahan says the city has been targeting that part of the city for redevelopment efforts for years, but various plans fell through. Last April the city council rejected the redevelopment commission’s plan to purchase the property for $2.6 million.

According to the city, Forrest has secured several long-term office tenants that will bring more than 100 jobs to the area.

“I have been watching Colonial Manor for the past few years hoping to do something and revitalize it like I’ve done in other communities,” said Forrest. “With the City of New Albany’s assistance, we are now making that a reality. The goal is to have it filled with retail, medical and service-oriented tenants.”

Initial work will begin in March, with full-blown construction by May. Forrest intends to have 10-15 tenants on the property.