New Albany News

Mellow Mushroom the first tenant for NACo-Daimler project

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Architectural rendering of the new 26,000-square-foot development planned by the New Albany Co. and the Dailmer Group at the northwest corner of Market Street and Johnstown Road.

The retail businesses on Market Street in New Albany will increase by at least one in 2013, with the addition of a Mellow Mushroom restaurant in a new building that will be constructed by the New Albany Co. and the Daimler Group.

Tom Rubey, development director for the New Albany Co., said New Albany's planned two-story 48,000-square-foot community health facility on Johnstown Road at Village Hall Road is sparking interest in other developments on Market Street, which is why the New Albany Co. and Daimler chose to construct their complementary building.

The city's health facility will include a medical clinic operated by the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, a fitness facility and space for community programming.

"There's a lot of faith in what the (city) is doing," Rubey said. "It has generated a level of interest that we haven't seen before."

The New Albany Co. and Daimler development will be 26,000 square feet and is expected to stretch from Jeffrey Angart's dentist office to Johnstown Road at the northwest corner of Market Street and Johnstown.

The portion of the building closest to Angart's office will be one story. That is where Mellow Mushroom, a restaurant that serves pizza and has a large selection of craft beers, will open.

"We're about a year away," said Mellow Mushroom owner Colby Zachrich.

Zachrich said he owns two other franchise locations, one on Polaris Parkway and the other on state Route 161, near Sawmill Road.

"It's a slow process," Zachrich said. "We're getting all the plans together and the design."

He said he hopes the restaurant is ready to open in December 2013 or January 2014.

Rubey said the rest of the building, which will have a second story, will have offices on the second floor and retail and other businesses on the first floor.

He could not name any specific tenants, but, he said, the New Albany Co. is negotiating with another restaurant, several retailers and office users.

He said the other restaurant at the location would be family friendly but more upscale, like the Northstar Cafe.

"Two more restaurants are feasible," Rubey said. "Based on what we've seen at Rusty Bucket (in Market Square), another restaurant that is family friendly with more casual dining is a great idea, and something a little different than that. We're confident that the (city) can support two additional restaurants."

At least two restaurants have not been able to survive in New Albany. Cafe Rigsby opened in Market Square in 2001 and closed in 2003. Olivia's, which opened at the corner of High Street and Dublin-Granville Road in 1999, closed in 2004.

Rubey said the New Albany Co. learned from Cafe Rigsby that a restaurant can be upscale but not to a very high level.

At least one retailer already open in the New Albany Co.'s previous development on Market Street, called Market Square, is looking to expand into the new building.

Geoff Clark, owner of VeloScience Bike Works, said he hopes to double his retail space and move in when the new development is ready. New Albany City Council on Dec. 11 approved a 10-year, 75-percent property-tax abatement for the New Albany Co. and Daimler building.

The incentive is valued at $121,000 annually, according to Jennifer Chrysler, the city's community development director.

Chrysler said she couldn't estimate income-tax revenue from the project until the tenants have signed leases.

"The village center TIF does not produce a lot of (income-tax revenue)," she said. "It's more of an investment in the area to change the culture and bring in more retail.

"It's to spur construction and new development, to create traffic and vibrancy in the village center."

Rubey said two more buildings could be built on Johnstown Road between the New Albany Co.-Daimler development and the city's community health facility.

If they are built, New Albany Co. officials plan to run a pedestrian corridor from the corner of Johnstown Road and Market Street between the two buildings to a common area and parking behind the buildings.