New Albany could get a second events center.

New Albany could get a second events center.

The owners of Brookshire events venues in Delaware and Hilliard want to bring a 14,000-square-foot venue for weddings and social and corporate events to Forest Drive.

New Albany's planning commission approved the final development plan for the project Dec. 19.

Construction is expected to begin in the spring and the facility would open in the fall, said Brookshire partner John Brooks.

New Albany would be the third venue for the company, which operates the Brookshire wedding venue in Delaware and Water's Edge in Hilliard, which specializes in corporate events.

Brooks said the New Albany facility, a $4.5 million investment, would sit on 5 acres and be designed to hold both wedding receptions and corporate and social events. Catering would be handled in-house.

Brooks said his business had looked the past two years for a third location in central Ohio, specifically northeast of Columbus. New Albany offered new businesses, as well as a growing population, he said, and Brookshire officials saw a "real need" for another private events venue.

"We were really drawn to the sense of community," he said.

One of the reasons Brookshire executives decided to locate in New Albany, Brooks said, was because they anticipated an events center would be able to host an even mix of weddings and social and corporate events.

Although Brooks didn't have a figure for the number of jobs a new venue would include, he said the Brookshire company employs more than 65 employees, and he expects a New Albany facility to "greatly enhance those numbers."

Tom Rubey, the New Albany Co.'s director of development,said the events center would be on the northeast corner of Forest Drive. He said a real need exists for an events center because of the number of employees in the park.

City spokesman Scott McAfee said about 14,000 employees work in the business park in New Albany.

The area near the proposed events center includes the New Albany Ballet Company, COTA Park & Ride, the Courtyard and Hampton Inn & Suites hotels and AcademyOne Childcare & Preschool, uses that are complementary to an events center, he said.

"I think it's a really logical fit," Rubey said.

New Albany's only events center in operation is Noah's on East Main Street. The facility opened in the fall.

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