JOHNSTOWN, Ohio (WCMH) — Real estate developer the New Albany Co. is in the process of pitching a mixed-use district that would be built on more than 400 acres outside of New Albany proper, according to Johnstown officials.

Informally introduced in front of the Johnstown Planning Commission on Tuesday, the Johnstown Gateway Planned District would be situated on a mix of land, some that is already within the village’s boundaries and some that would be annexed.

Aaron Underhill, an attorney for the New Albany Co., said the project’s location — abutting the northern border of Intel’s eventual central Ohio semiconductor fabrication plants and running north to Duncan Plains Road — is intentional. On the east and west sides, it is bordered by Mink Street and Clover Valley Road. 

 “Johnstown may not have chosen Intel, but it does have a choice to seize the opportunity it presents,” Underhill said at the meeting.

Within the proposed project’s 417 acres are five “sub-areas,” according to presentation slides prepared by the New Albany Co. 

Two of the sub-areas would be 250 acres for office, manufacturing, industrial, data center and warehouse uses, or for potential parklands. Another two of the sub-areas — with 70 and 60 acres between them — would largely account for residential and neighborhood commercial uses, including multi-family. 

That final sub-area, which consists of just over 30 acres, is currently listed as “choice of use.” It gives the New Albany Co. leeway to determine later on how to use the land. 

The proposal falls within the Johnstown-Monroe School District. But Underhill said the envisioned housing within the Johnstown Gateway would be about 95% one or two-bedroom units, curbing the number of units that may ultimately house families with school-aged children.

Several members of the district’s school board attended the Tuesday meeting. Although it was too soon for them to feel one way or another about the proposed project, they were left with numerous questions, said President Tim Swauger. 

“When we look at multi-family, we get nervous — rightfully so,” Swauger said. “We can’t add any more kids. Our high school is 40, 50 kids from capacity, at this point. To build a new high school, we need $50 million and 100-and-some acres. We’re not getting that from this one development.”

Other residents voiced concerned about the proposed zoning uses and the privately-owned adjacent properties.

The developer had yet to submit a formal application to the planning commission, saying Tuesday served as an informal introduction to the proposed mixed-use project. “We’re trying to get in front of this,” Underhill said.

Once a formal application is submitted, which could come as soon as next week, commissioners would review and consider it officially. The village is also looking at creating a community authority for the project, which provides a framework for partnerships between public officials and private entities, such as in this case.

If it is approved, construction could begin as soon as 2024 — but Underhill said the village is looking at what is likely a decadelong project.

View the full prepared presentation below: