With a rezoning approved by New Albany City Council on May 7, New Albany Co. leaders said they would begin marketing in earnest more than 12 acres with the goal of attracting a hotel, a fueling station and other commercial amenities.

Council members voted 6-1 to rezone 12.47 acres north of and adjacent to U.S. Route 62, south of and adjacent to Bevelhymer Road and east of and adjacent to Walton Parkway for an area to be known as the “Walton-62 Commerce District,” according to a legislative report to council members.

Council member Chip Fellows cast the only vote against the rezoning, saying he would prefer that the hotel be closer to Route 62 rather than the proposed setback location closer to Bevelhymer Road. Fellows said he was concerned with the proposed proximity to Bevelhymer and wanted to maintain that road’s rural character.

Aaron Underhill, legal representative for the New Albany Co., said demand for hotel rooms in the area has been growing based on the number of jobs that have come in recent years to the New Albany International Business Park. That job increase brings business travelers, he said, and construction work in the area also increases the need for hotel rooms.

Although the New Albany Co. has received interest from hotel developers, these sorts of conversations don’t become more serious until the proper zoning is secured, Underhill said.

The New Albany Co. is proposing a hotel to be set back off Route 62 near Bevelhymer Road and Walton Parkway, Underhill said. Other possibilities for the area include a fueling station and such service-related uses as restaurants.

Zoning would allow a hotel up to 54 feet tall, said Tom Rubey, director of development for the New Albany Co., and such architectural details as lighting and signage for any commercial development would be similar to the development on the east side of Route 62.

Now that the zoning is approved, the New Albany Co. will begin marketing the property more aggressively, Rubey said.

If a user would commit to develop on the site, the New Albany Co. would return to the city’s planning commission with a final development plan for approval, Underhill said. Council members wouldn’t have to vote on a final development plan, he said.

Hampton Inn & Suites New Albany Columbus is at 5220 Forest Drive, near Route 62. Courtyard by Marriott Columbus New Albany is at 5211 Forest Drive. Home2 Suites by Hilton New Albany Columbus is at 5095 Forest Drive.

Read the May 16 edition of ThisWeek New Albany News for the full story.