City Council members have informed the administration that the final vote on restoring the Reisz Furniture Building for use as a new city hall will not take place at the City Council meeting on Thursday, June 21, 2018. The ordinance has passed all previous readings, and is set for final approval at the council meeting on July 2nd.
HISTORY OF THE PROPERTY
The historically recognized Reisz Furniture Building has been vacant for decades. It was constructed in 1852 and was home to a flour mill, before serving as the Kraft Funeral Home, M. Fine & Sons Shirt Factory, Graf Harness and Saddlery Shop, and has also been utilized by the Schmitt Furniture Company.
After being marketed for years, no buyer or tenant had been found to save the property.
“We have put together a plan that saves the historic building and puts it back into service as a new city building,” stated Mayor Jeff Gahan. “We will consolidate operations, repair a special building that has fallen into a blighted condition, and promote economic growth in our downtown. The new Main Street location will allow for ease of access for both city employees and the citizens of New Albany.”
If approved, this project will save the historic property, develop a community owned asset, and remove blight from our community.
“To come in and have a user that will redevelop the whole property – it will be a substantial investment. I think people will be very happy to see the interest coming in and redeveloping it, and it will also help the surrounding businesses see that their investment is going to be further complemented by the public investment in the Reisz building,” stated Mike Kopp, a prominent real estate developer who has helped transform historic structures for new uses.
The project will save millions of dollars over time, as the city has paid costs in its current location for over 57 years. It will also help the surrounding businesses see their private investment backed up by pubic investment.
“This project is the perfect example of how historic preservation, blight removal, and economic redevelopment can come together to create a great project,” Mayor Jeff Gahan. “When this project is complete, the residents of New Albany will own a new, modern city hall. Instead of throwing away our community’s tax dollars on rent, we will be investing in and saving a historic property that will be owned by the community and utilized for years to come.”