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A Tribute to Jaquelin T. Robertson, Architect and Planner Who Helped Shape New Albany

June 4th, 2020

“Places of value stand out among all places in the world. They’re recognizable. They leave a mark and an imprint in the memory. And that difference makes all the difference.”
— Jaquelin T. Robertson

Image of Mr. Jaquelin RobertsonNew Albany’s distinctive architectural identity is the result of a shared vision. One of the authors of that vision is Jaquelin T. Robertson (1933–2020), a world-renowned architect and planner who, during his half-century-long career, helped America rediscover its own architectural heritage.

Mr. Robertson, known as “Jaque” (pronounced “Jack”), first began consulting for the New Albany Company in 1989. Having recently completed an eight-year tenure as dean of the University of Virginia School of Architecture, he and his New York City-based firm, Cooper Robertson, left an indelible mark on the community. Mr. Robertson led the design of the clubhouse at New Albany Country Club as well as Bottomley Crescent, one of the first streets to open in the Country Club Community. Mr. Robertson also helped craft the community’s master plan, working closely with Les Wexner and Jack Kessler, along with other expert planners such as Gerald McCue and Laurie Olin.

To ensure a consistently high quality of design throughout the community, Mr. Robertson helped train local builders and architects in the art of traditional brick construction. He also wrote some of the design guidelines for the Country Club Community, emphasizing harmonious composition and authentic details in the Georgian style. Mr. Robertson’s knowledge and guidance subsequently informed other architects’ designs for the community learning campus, the New Albany Branch Library, and Village Hall. As the community’s business park began to develop in the late 1990s, Mr. Robertson helped the New Albany Company create appropriate architecture and planning standards so that the commercial buildings would respect the landscape and the scale of the community.

Jaque Robertson grew up in Windsor Farms, Virginia, a graceful residential community on the edge of Richmond. Recalling a typical English village surrounding a common green, it served as one of several key precedents for the planning of New Albany. Mr. Robertson’s love of architecture was fueled by his family’s Georgian-Palladian home, called Milburne, which was designed by master architect William Lawrence Bottomley—the namesake of New Albany’s Bottomley Crescent. Mr. Robertson also spent part of his childhood in Beijing, where is father, the diplomat Walter Robertson, was stationed. This cosmopolitan environment helped fuel Mr. Robertson’s lifelong interest in urban design as a complement of architecture. Each individual building, he believed, should feel connected to the larger community. The parts should form a whole.

Mr. Robertson earned two degrees from Yale and studied at Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar. In the early 1960s he worked for prestigious New York architect Edward Larrabee Barnes. He then became a senior urban planner in the administration of New York City Mayor John Lindsay, and took on international planning and design projects in the private sector. Returning to his native Virginia in 1980, Mr. Robertson led the architecture school at UVA, where he looked with fresh eyes upon the Classical tradition in architecture. He believed that Renaissance Italy and Georgian Britain and America still offered relevant lessons. His thinking was encapsulated in his treatise, In Search of an American Urban Order, in which he sought to apply Thomas Jefferson’s architectural principles to the challenges of modern life.

When Mr. Robertson came to New Albany, he was impressed with Wexner and Kessler’s vision to build a timeless American community. “To come upon this crowd in New Albany was just such a shock,” he recalled in 2015, during a Jefferson Series panel event at The McCoy. “Les was so committed to quality, and you don’t get that in our world anymore. No one in the country was doing things this way. It was so rare and so incredibly brave.”

Mr. Robertson showed Wexner and Kessler around some of his favorite buildings and communities, from Monticello to East Hampton, New York. When Wexner chartered a flight for roughly 45 Central Ohio builders and architects to go to Richmond for the day, Mr. Robertson led them on a tour of the city’s handsome Georgian homes. They returned with a clearer understanding of the subtle language of brick: specialized bonds or patterns, “grapevine” mortar joints, water tables, arched openings, glazed headers, decorative “rubbed” bricks, and many other techniques.

As Mr. Robertson once said in a Town & Country interview, “The symbolic hard currency of architecture is classical. It’s gold in the bank. The other stuff is leveraged buyouts and soybean futures.”

Apart from his work in New Albany, Mr. Robertson is remembered for his role in designing civic and university buildings, museums, corporate headquarters, club/resort environments, and community master plans. He also designed elegant country homes for prominent clients, typically evoking the spirit of older buildings without imitating them directly. He received the Thomas Jefferson Medal in Architecture in 1998 and the Driehaus Prize, an award for excellence in traditional architecture, in 2007.

New Albany honors the memory of Mr. Robertson, and we treasure his enduring contributions to our community.

First Facebook Data Center Debuts in New Albany

February 13th, 2020

Watch the video at Vimeo.com »

Google Joins New Albany High-Tech Crowd with $600 Million Data Center

November 5th, 2019

Google has broken ground on its $600 million data center in New Albany, joining fellow tech giants Amazon and Facebook with centers in the Columbus suburb…Read full article at dispatch.com

Columbus CEO Magazine Explores Why Businesses Thrive in New Albany

August 26th, 2019

Dozens of businesses have decided to call New Albany home, happily. Read more.

VeloScience Bike Works to Expand and Relocate in New Albany

May 7th, 2019

VeloScience Bike Works, a destination for cycling equipment, accessories and service, currently occupies the space that will become Whit’s Frozen Custard. The popular merchant opened at Market Square in October 2012 and quickly became the go-to destination for top brands of road bikes, apparel and community building around the sport of cycling. Cycling has grown in New Albany and in central Ohio and VeloScience, through its knowledgeable customer service and product offerings, has drawn legions of fans which has driven the need for more space. VeloScience will move to 2,800 square feet of space at 29 High Street at the corner of E. Dublin Granville Road and Route 605. Construction is already underway with a goal of opening in mid-May.

Geoff Clark, owner of VeloScience Bike Works at his new location in New Albany at the corner of E. Dublin Granville Road and Route 605.

“It’s very gratifying to see the growth of our sport and to have VeloScience be a part of helping people of all ages discover cycling,” said Geoff Clark, owner of VeloScience Bike Works. “With the new space we’ll be able to broaden our offerings of not only additional bike categories and brands but also an even deeper selection of accessories and apparel. Additionally, we’ll have substantially more space to service bikes and for customers to come together and socialize before and after rides. This is a really exciting time for our business and we’re looking forward to launching this next chapter.

Follow VeloScience Bike Works on Facebook and Instagram at @veloscience.

“Our goal at Market Square from the beginning has been to curate a mix of shops, restaurants and service providers that complement the important civic uses in the center of town such as the library, The Heit Center, McCoy Center and soon, Rose Run Park,” said Bill Ebbing, President of New Albany Company. “The addition of Whit’s will give our community members yet another reason to enjoy all that is available to them in the heart of New Albany.”

“The growth of VeloScience, which was one of our early tenants at Market Square, is also something to celebrate. Geoff Clark has been a great community partner, supporting many cycling efforts and events in our community. His new location will be a hub of cycling activity and help further develop the sport in New Albany and beyond,” concluded Ebbing.

New Albany’s Market Square is located in the heart of New Albany, Ohio at Market Street and Main Street. The development is anchored by the New Albany Branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library and the Philip Heit Center for Healthy New Albany. It is a popular daily hub of activity with shops, eateries, service providers, civic uses and residences developed by the New Albany Company.

Whit’s Frozen Custard coming to Market Square

May 7th, 2019

[New Albany, Ohio] May 6, 2019 – New Albany’s town center continues to evolve as a destination for shopping, dining and leisure activities. Recent additions like Fox in the Snow, 3 Minute Fitness, Truluck PetPeople and Freshii are drawing residents and visitors to the heart of the community, creating an environment that enables existing businesses to grow and draws new businesses to New Albany.

Whit’s Frozen Custard Made Fresh Daily will serve a delicious array of custard ice creams including Bourbon Praline Pecan, Waffle Caramel Crunch and Toffee Pretzel Chip.

Bourbon Praline Pecan, Waffle Caramel Crunch and Toffee Pretzel Chip will be just three of the delectable frozen custard flavors of the week to enjoy when Whit’s Frozen Custard Made Fresh Daily opens this summer at Market Square adjacent to Starbucks at 220 Market Street, Suite B. Ohio’s 33rd Whit’s Frozen Custard, this location will be the only one that also offers the award-winning Just Pies, with flavors ranging from Lemon Raspberry to Apple Crumb, Cherry, Triple Berry, French Silk, Coconut Creme and many more. Whit’s shop will be a warm and lively environment with a touch of vintage styling, perfect for stopping in after the little league game or topping off a dinner date.

Just Pies serves lemon raspberry, apple crumb, cherry, triple berry, french silk and coconut creme pies in New Albany, Ohio
Just Pies selection of fruit and creme pies will be offered at the new Whit’s Frozen Custard Made Fresh Daily location opening in New Albany, Ohio at Market Square

“Opening a Whit’s in New Albany has been our goal for a number of years but we wanted to be in the exact right location where the community naturally gathers,” said Wil and Jason Hollands, Owners of the New Albany Whit’s. “The Market Square area is such a hub of activity for all ages with the library, Heit Center, soon-to-be Rose Run Park and unique shops all located here. We knew this is where we had to be and we’re thrilled that it will all come together in time for a summer opening.”

Customers should follow Whit’s Frozen Custard on Facebook @Whitsnewalbany to stay informed about the opening date of the New Albany location.

VanTrust building project could add 150 jobs to New Albany International Business Park

February 20th, 2019

A real-estate company is planning to build a 300,000-square-foot facility in the New Albany International Business Park to attract companies in the manufacturing, production and logistics industries, according to a Feb. 19 New Albany City Council legislative report.

The building will be within Licking Heights Local School District boundaries, and it will be north of state Route 161, on the north side of Innovation Campus Way between Harrison and Mink roads, said Jennifer Chrysler, New Albany’s community-development director.

VanTrust Real Estate plans to close on the property, owned by the New Albany Co., in early March and break ground in May, said Bill Baumgardner, VanTrust vice president, development.

The building will be finished in October or November and could take about a year from completion to fill with tenants, he said.

The investment for the shell building construction, site acquisition and site work is estimated to be $10.5 million, Baumgardner said.

The building will be designed to accommodate as many as four tenants and would create a minimum of 150 full-time jobs, with an aggregate annual payroll of at least $5 million to $9 million within three years of completion of the project, according to the legislative report.

The project is estimated to generate a base amount of $100,000 to $180,000 in annual income-tax revenue and a minimum of $32,250 in New Albany East Community Authority charges for the community, according to the report.

The New Albany East Community Authority is a community authority district that charges a special assessment for municipal infrastructure projects that have a public purpose, Chrysler said.

Approximately $30,000 to $54,000 annually would be directed toward infrastructure, approximately $26,000 to $46,000 annually would be paid to Columbus, approximately $22,000 to $40,000 annually would paid to the Licking Heights and approximately $22,000 to $40,000 would be deposited into the city’s general fund, according to the legislative report.

In this portion of the business park the city utilizes the first 30 percent of the income-tax revenue collected to repay infrastructure debt; 26 percent is paid to Columbus per the cities’ revenue-sharing agreement for the extension of water and sewer services in this area; and the remaining income-tax revenue is divided evenly between the city and Licking Heights, according to the report.

City Council on Feb. 19 approved a 100 percent real-property-tax abatement for 15 years at the site.

Because VanTrust still is in the design stage for the building and the building doesn’t have tenants the, city doesn’t have a value for how much the incentive ultimately would be worth, Chrysler said.

Baumgardner said New Albany’s tax incentives and the city’s ability to move quickly through the project-approval process made moving to New Albany attractive.

Similarly, the city’s master-planned business park and the tenants there also made the city a smart place to locate, he said.

New Albany leaders are excited for the opportunity to expand the city’s manufacturing base, Chrysler said.

“It’s a manufacturing opportunity to increase that industry cluster with speculative space, which will allow us to respond to unique needs in the market,” she said.

By Sarah Sole
From This Week News

New Albany Lands $600 Million Google Data Center

February 18th, 2019

NEW ALBANY, Ohio (AP) — Google says it plans to build a $600 million data center in an Ohio city, part of $13 billion in planned investments this year.

Last December, Google affiliate Montauk Innovations said it was considering New Albany for a data center project in the New Albany International Business Park. The Columbus Dispatch reports Google did not elaborate further on its plans for the site in its announcement Wednesday.

New Albany spokesman Scott McAfee says the city is excited about Google’s investment in central Ohio.

Google’s project is the latest in what has been a string of data centers for central Ohio.

Information from The Columbus Dispatch.


Google to spend $13B on U.S. expansion, with growth focused outside Silicon Valley, including in Central Ohio

(Columbus Business First) — Google will spend more than $13 billion on U.S. data centers and offices in 2019, CEO Sundar Pichai said Wednesday, marking “the second year in a row we’ll be growing faster outside of the Bay Area than in it.”

“These new investments will give us the capacity to hire tens of thousands of employees, and enable the creation of more than 10,000 new construction jobs in Nebraska, Nevada, Ohio, Texas, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Virginia,” Pichai wrote in a blog post.

The company on Wednesday confirmed earlier reporting by Columbus Business First that it is building a data center in New Albany.

With the new investment, Google will be in 24 out of 50 states, Pichai said. The company’s workforce in Virginia and Georgia will double, he said, with new data center and office development there.

Google is also growing in New York, Southern California, Chicago, Nevada, Wisconsin and elsewhere, he said, detailing the company’s developments in those areas.

While Pichai emphasized that the company, a division of Alphabet Inc., is accelerating outside Silicon Valley, the search giant is also growing rapidly in the Bay Area, including with new campus developments around its Mountain View headquarters and nearby Sunnyvale, a planned urban campus near downtown San Jose and big leases in downtown San Francisco.

Pichai wrote:

“One year ago this week, I was in Montgomery County, Tennessee to break ground for a new data center in Clarksville. It was clear from the excitement at the event that the jobs and economic investment meant a great deal to the community. I’ve seen that same optimism in communities around the country that are helping to power our digital economy. And I’m proud to say that our U.S. footprint is growing rapidly: In the last year, we’ve hired more than 10,000 people in the U.S. and made over $9 billion in investments. Our expansion across the U.S. has been crucial to finding great new talent, improving the services that people use every day, and investing in our business.

Today we’re announcing over $13 billion in investments throughout 2019 in data centers and offices across the U.S., with major expansions in 14 states. These new investments will give us the capacity to hire tens of thousands of employees, and enable the creation of more than 10,000 new construction jobs in Nebraska, Nevada, Ohio, Texas, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Virginia. With this new investment, Google will now have a home in 24 total states, including data centers in 13 communities. 2019 marks the second year in a row we’ll be growing faster outside of the Bay Area than in it.

This growth will allow us to invest in the communities where we operate, while we improve the products and services that help billions of people and businesses globally. Our new data center investments, in particular, will enhance our ability to provide the fastest and most reliable services for all our users and customers. As part of our commitment to our 100 percent renewable energy purchasing, we’re also making significant renewable energy investments in the U.S. as we grow. Our data centers make a significant economic contribution to local communities, as do the associated $5 billion in energy investments that our energy purchasing supports.”

By Marlize van Romburgh
From Columbus Business First


Google to go ahead with $600 million data center in New Albany

NEW ALBANY, Ohio (Columbus Dispatch) — Google confirmed Wednesday that it plans to develop a $600-million data center in New Albany this year.

The project is among $13 billion in investments in data centers and offices that Google plans this year, the company said.

Last December, Google affiliate Montauk Innovations said it was considering New Albany for the project in the New Albany International Business Park. Property records show the company has bought 447 acres in Franklin and Licking counties for $54.5 million.

Google would not elaborate Wednesday on its plans for the site beyond the blog post released by Google CEO Sundar Pichai that notes an Ohio investment.

New Albany spokesman Scott McAfee confirmed that the Ohio location is the data center proposed for the west side of Beech Road, south of the state Route 161 interchange.

“We’re very excited about their investment in New Albany, in the central Ohio region and the state of Ohio,” McAfee said.

By Mark Williams
From The Columbus Dispatch

Les Wexner Honored with McCoy Community Service Award at the New Albany Community Foundation’s Remarkable Evening Benefit

December 20th, 2018

 PULITZER PRIZE-WINNING HISTORIANS JOSEPH ELLIS, JON MEACHAM AND DORIS KEARNS GOODWIN VISIT NEW ALBANY FOR REMARKABLE EVENING 

Highlights:

  • Leslie H. Wexner honored with McCoy Community Service Award Bob
  • Schottenstein & Jeri Block with M/I Homes Foundation gift $500,000 to the Leslie H. Wexner Jefferson Series Fund 
  • Remarkable Evening hits milestone surpassing $25 million from donors through the benefit 

NEW ALBANY, OHIO (December 20, 2018) – A capacity audience of 464 guests attended 

The New Albany Community Foundation’s 16th annual Remarkable Evening benefit hosted by Abigail and Les Wexner at their New Albany home on the evening of November 28th. The event featured a panel discussion with three Pulitzer Prize-winning historians, Joseph Ellis, Doris Kearns Goodwin and Jon Meacham, moderated by David Gergen, Director of the Center for Public Leadership at the Harvard Kennedy School and CNN senior political analyst. 

Funds raised from the event support the Foundation’s annual grantmaking to area not-for-profit organizations and to build Foundation endowments. Funds raised also support The Jefferson Series, an ongoing Foundation lecture series that features an impressive lineup of distinguished diplomats, experts on foreign policy, national security, health, Pulitzer Prize-winning authors, journalists and historians. In addition to community lectures, Jefferson Series speakers have interacted with over 12,500 students representing over 20 school districts across central Ohio. 

It was announced during this year’s benefit that Foundation donors have contributed a total of over $25 million to community initiatives through Remarkable Evening events. Since its inception, the Foundation has awarded over $12 million in grants in support of lifelong learning, arts and culture, health and wellness and the environment. 

These grants are made possible through the support of generous donors and sponsors who contribute annually through Remarkable Evening or have established endowments at the Foundation. Contributions have also helped make possible transformational projects like the New 2 

Albany Branch Library, the Jeanne B. McCoy Community Center for the Arts and the Philip Heit Center for Healthy New Albany. The Foundation presently is raising money to build the Charleen & Charles Hinson Amphitheater. 

Lead sponsors for this year’s Remarkable Evening included American Electric Power, The Berend Family and Joint Implant Surgeons Orthopedics, Huntington, Justice, The New Albany Company and Nickolas Savko & Sons, Inc. 

Several significant announcements were made during the evening: 

Leslie H. Wexner received the 2018 Jeanne and John G. McCoy Community Service Award 

The Jeanne and John G. McCoy Community Service Award was established by the Foundation in 2004 to recognize citizens who have made a significant impact on the community through their leadership, contributions and community service. Through their remarkable philanthropy in New Albany and central Ohio, Jeanne and John G. McCoy embodied the spirit of this award and were the first to be honored with the distinction in 2004 when it was established in their name. 

Leslie H. Wexner has been engaged in community betterment throughout his life. As Bob Schottenstein stated in announcing Wexner as the McCoy Award honoree that evening, “With his relentless focus and drive to constantly aim higher, Les found a way to harness development for the common good. New Albany is a reflection of and personifies his uncommon commitment to lifelong learning, leadership, and an informed citizenry.” 

Wexner accepted the award paying tribute to his longtime friend and Columbus civic leader, John G. McCoy. An active resident of New Albany until his passing in 2010, John McCoy and his wife Jeanne were among the first residents to move to New Albany as the community began its transformation in the late 1990s. In 2006, McCoy made a $2 million gift announcement at Remarkable Evening that enabled the construction of what was later named the Jeanne B. McCoy Community Center for the Arts in the heart of New Albany. 

In accepting the award, Les Wexner said, “My friend John had a great impact on how I view community. Years ago, he told me, ‘You should think about tithing in time and in resource. You should think about giving some of your time and energy to the community.’ His mentoring and coaching was transformative to me. I take this opportunity to memorialize John G. and his generous contributions to our community. He was a spectacular person and a great friend.”

Past recipients of The McCoy Award include: 

2004 Jeanne & John G. McCoy 

2005 Janet Atwater 

2006 Dr. Ralph Johnson 

2007 Bill Resch 

2008 Don Cameron 

2009 Dr. Phil Heit 

2010 The Ryan Family 

2011 Tiney McComb 

2012 Bob Schottenstein 

2013 John W. Kessler 

2014 Jackie & Ken Krebs 

2015 Jennie & Mark Wilson 

2016 Cindy & Keith Berend 

2017 Barbara & Al Siemer 

Bob Schottenstein and Jeri Block together with M/I Homes Foundation make a generous gift to the Leslie H. Wexner Jefferson Series Fund 

The New Albany Community Foundation announced a contribution of $500,000 from Bob Schottenstein and Jeri Block together with M/I Homes Foundation to the Leslie H. Wexner Jefferson Series Fund. The fund was established by Wexner’s friends to support in perpetuity the lecture series. The gift represents the single largest gift to the fund, which has now reached $1.7 million. 

More than 12,500 students have participated in Jefferson Series student lectures 

The New Albany Community Foundation announced that as of November of 2018, more than 12,500 students have participated in the Jefferson Series student lectures, representing over 25 schools across Central Ohio. Now in its sixth season of hosting an array of speakers including entrepreneurs, best-selling authors, journalists, historians and more, The Jefferson Series opened its 2018-2019 season in September with Dr. Sanjay Gupta. 

Additionally, it was announced that the October National Security Town Hall featuring General Michael Hayden, Stephen Hadley and Samantha Power and moderated by CNN Host, Columnist and Global Expert Fareed Zakaria, reached more than 25 million people around the world when it was broadcast on Fareed Zakaria GPS. 

On January 15, actress and mental health advocate Glenn Close will speak at the Jefferson Series and then a new program in May will feature Jeffrey Toobin and Noah Feldman. This program marks the debut of a special series focusing on civil discourse and debate, envisioned by the Derrow Family. 

The remaining Jefferson Series lectures are as follows: 

SOLD OUT – January 15 – Glenn Close 

SOLD OUT – May 1 – Noah Feldman & Jeffrey Toobin 4 

*All remaining Jefferson Series forums are now sold out. If you are interested in attending either event, click here to have your name added to the waitlist. Those on the waitlist will be contacted in the order received if tickets become available. 

The New Albany Community Foundation and its donors are working together to build an extraordinary community. The Foundation develops collaborative partnerships and invests in transformational projects that benefit all residents and contribute to the greater good: developing a community of life-long learners, creating culture of wellness, enriching the community through the arts and supporting a sustainable environment. By championing forward-thinking initiatives, the Foundation and its donors have already had a significant positive impact. 

Letter from the Chairman: Fall 2018

December 18th, 2018

Dear Friends and Neighbors:
As 2018 comes to a close there’s certainly a lot to celebrate. This year brought several new accolades for New Albany, including being named a Best Hometown by Ohio Magazine and landing at #8 on USA Today’s Best Cities to Live list, the highest ranking of any city in Ohio. This is an affirmation not only of the quality of community all of you have built but of the sense of community that exists in New Albany.

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