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Covington still has a shot at rebirth

Business closures are merely bumps in the road for MainStrasse's progress

Jan. 8, 2014 9:35 PM

Written by Amanda Van Benschoten

 

 

COVINGTON — A chapter in the city’s civic life came to a close on Sunday, when the landmark restaurant and jazz bar Chez Nora abruptly shut its doors just months shy of its 20th anniversary.

 

The closure leaves a gaping hole in the heart of the city’s MainStrasse dining and entertainment district, and also in the hearts of those who spent any time at all within Chez Nora’s warm, inviting walls.

 

http://news.cincinnati.com/article/20140109/NEWS0103/301090022/Covington-still-has-shot-rebirth

 

I wonder how much the revitalization of OTR has taken business away from MainStrasse.

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From my personal perspective (as a 25 year old who drinks a lot) we either go out to OTR or Covington. To me OTR is taking away business more from Mt. Adams, because if you want a dive bar where you can smoke indoors and have a $1 beer you still go to Cov and I think as OTR gets more mainstream you will see the hipsters more on this side of the river. But if you want a nice cocktail or $6 beer where you don't smell like an ashtray and can see/be seen you go to Downtown/OTR. That being said old Kentucky bourbon bar, wise guys, and pachinkos are all smoke free. Either way when I turned 21 it was mt. Adams all the time, and I haven't been there since last summer. (And we only go to the banks for gamedays)

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Covington takes a shot at riverfront development

 

In an effort to make some of its prime real estate more beautiful to look at and attractive to potential business investors, one Northern Kentucky city is working to transform itself into a “waterfront promenade.”

 

The city of Covington announced Wednesday plans to turn 32 acres of land that spans more than 1 1/4 miles into a series of performance pavilions, riverfront walkways and trails for pedestrians and bicyclists.

 

“Last week, after more than 10 years of due diligence and collaboration, draft construction documents were presented to the city commission that revealed the future plans of Covington's Ohio Riverfront and a funding option to make it happen,” the city stated in a release.

 

Cont


"It's just fate, as usual, keeping its bargain and screwing us in the fine print..." - John Crichton

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I love that we are looking across the river and getting riverfront park envy. Healthy jealousy and competition is great for development. I know that smale has plans for a boat dock, but considering where the river channel goes there is a lot more space for boat docks and floating developments on the ky side. I've been hoping for a floating pool structure like bjarke ingles designed in Rotterdam and they are now doing in new yorks east river for a while now. Covington needs to take advantage of its river ownership, as of tgi fridays going away, the waterfront drifting down river, and mike finks going away there is nothing left but potential.

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Great news, indeed! From the rendering, it looks like a portion of the riverfront is roped off, presumably creating a boat-free zone for recreational purposes. Would that zone would be for kayaking and paddle boarding, or are they expecting swimming in the river?

 

To me, the priority should be integrating marina/dock space with dining options, since that will bring the most people down to the river on a regular basis. There should be some long-term marina slips as well as temporary dock space. The temporary dock space is important for hosting events (races, boat shows, regattas, etc.) The long term dock space ensures people can take their boats out as frequently as possible. Having dock space on both sides of the River would be great.

 

Which are the cities along the Ohio River (or other large rivers with significant barge activity) that have most successfully made their riverfronts into recreational destinations? I'm familiar with Louisville and one thing they've done well is encourage the use of sailboats on the river. The river is wider in Louisville, making it more conducive to sailing... but I still think sailing could be popular along our stretch of the river. Generally, any kind of boating regatta (sail, motor, or otherwise) would be great to get more people on the river.

 

Are there particular lessons we should learn from the failures/successes of other river cities (Portland, Chattanooga, Pittsburgh, St Louis, Philadelphia, Memphis, Nashville, Minneapolis etc)?

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^Portland is into crew or something like it.  I was there once when they had a race on the Willamette river with all of the boats painted with dragon faces (sort of like a viking ship).  It was a fun atmosphere.

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^The Cincinnati Rowing Club has their boathouse on the Licking River (http://www.cincinnatirowing.com/licking_boathouse.htm). The Licking is nice for rowing because it has much less current than the Ohio River and virtually zero boat traffic. The combination of the Licking and Ohio means you have access to both a small quiet river and a big wide river. It'd be great to able rent a kayak/canoe and take it up the Licking River. If Newport gets that empty parcel developed on the Newport side of Licking, the area surrounding the Licking-Ohio confluence could become a nice, lively area.

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It'd be great to able rent a kayak/canoe and take it up the Licking River.

 

I like that idea.  Since the Licking flows northward, that means that you could paddle up river away from Newport and then just turn around when you're finished for a much easier return trip.  That's good for novices.

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EPA money for licking river greenway's brownfield properties. The trail currently goes from 9th street to almost Holmes high school. Hopefully this money will help extend it further north or get the Newport side more involved, as it has many more brownfield properties.

 

http://rcnky.com/articles/2014/06/02/covington-newport-get-600-epa-grant-licking-river-greenway

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New life for Marianne Theatre

Terry DeMio, tdemio@nky.com 12:18 a.m. EDT June 24, 2014

 

 

Memories of heading to the Marianne Theater elicit broad smiles from people in Bellevue.

 

Lifelong resident Vic Camm remembers his dad bringing him to the old, art deco cinema to see "Fantasia" when he was a kid.

 

The big movie he remembers seeing as a young adult was quite different: "'Easy Rider,'" he said, again smiling, as he nodded toward the closed theater on Fairfield Avenue.

 

http://www.cincinnati.com/story/news/local/northern-ky/2014/06/24/marianne-theatre-bellevue/11298243/

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http://rcnky.com/articles/2014/07/18/photos-inside-newports-monmouth-row-apartment-development

 

I like the density, but as usual with Towne Properties it is faux historic and not very interesting. Still thought I should throw these pictures up here, with this and the new apartments at Vue180 and hopefully the new hotel/apartments at the Levee, Newport is doing pretty well for itself.

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It looks pretty bad in person but it does take over and add density to what was a series of parking lots or suburban style buildings (except for the corner, wasn't there a pretty decent building torn down for these?) and that's good. Downtown Newport stands to be a really cool neighborhood in the coming years. I like a lot of it once you head south from the Levee and there are quite a few places where large, dense development could occur.

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except for the corner, wasn't there a pretty decent building torn down for these?

 

It was okay.  I think it was faux historic as well, but still fairly old (60+ years, but that's young for the neighborhood).  It wasn't historically significant, unlike the Carnegie library next door, which thankfully was spared.  IMO, that building was worth sacrificing to replace the rest of the surface lot on that block.

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http://rcnky.com/articles/2014/07/18/photos-inside-newports-monmouth-row-apartment-development

 

I like the density, but as usual with Towne Properties it is faux historic and not very interesting. Still thought I should throw these pictures up here, with this and the new apartments at Vue180 and hopefully the new hotel/apartments at the Levee, Newport is doing pretty well for itself.

 

That Towne development is in a good location, rents are reasonable. Monmouth St. looks pretty good these days and Newport is sinking another

$900,000 into street or sidewalk improvements somewhere off of Monmouth.

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The building that used to be at the corner was a decent 2-story brick affair that looked to be from the 1920s.  I wouldn't call it anything spectacular, and with a little love it could probably have been made to shine, but my guess is that it had some odd spaces inside.  With a bunch of garage doors on one side and what looks like offices above, I guess it was only conducive to certain kinds of retail/industrial use, with pretty marginal office space above.  It's a loss, but probably worth the trade.  http://goo.gl/maps/dfRDL

 

Even if you don't like the design/style of the new building, it is pretty well executed.  The proportions are good, the materials are at least OK, and it doesn't have a bunch of unresolved details from what I've seen.  What's more impressive though is that the urbanism is quite good, if not excellent.  There's little to no setback from the sidewalk, and where there is, it's on the residential side leaving just enough room for a little stoop.  The scale of the building is just right for 3-story townhouses.  Many newer developments such as University Station by Xavier, the building that replaced Schiel School on Short Vine, and University Park on Calhoun have inappropriately tall first floors that make the buildings look like they're on stilts.  There's also no blank walls that I'm aware of, and the both the retail and residential sides facing the streets have plenty of windows and doors.  The only disappointment is that the courtyard is a parking lot instead of an actual courtyard, but even that is a pretty well-defined space and it's not too gaping a hole in the built fabric.  It's a good example of building dense mixed use without having to resort to expensive construction types and parking garages that require a very overscaled development to amortize those additional costs. 

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Bill Butler on riverfront development, regionalism and Ovation

Tom Demeropolis Reporter- Cincinnati Business Courier

 

Bill Butler was on my shortlist of people to interview about development and redevelopment along the Ohio riverfront for a cover story I was working on.

 

Instead, I got this story about Butler’s plans for “rewirement.”

 

We are dealing as well with the effects of Gov. John Kasich and Cincinnati’s combined $38 million expenditure to rip major tenants from our buildings at RiverCenter. This occurred at the depths of the recession, and the outcome of the properties will take some time to determine and then to rebuild into viable facilities. There was no benefit to it (except to look good on Kasich’s résumé). It will be extremely difficult to recover from the damage to what we termed “regionalism.”

http://www.bizjournals.com/cincinnati/blog/2014/08/bill-butler-on-riverfront-development-regionalism.html?page=all

 

Note my comment below made three years ago, still holds true now.  Butler does a lot for charitable causes in NKY, but pleading Ohio/Cincinnati are stealing our tenants/where is regionalism is completely hypocritical (Omnicare, Gibson Greetings, etc.)!

 

 

 

Covington worried about Omnicare, Nielsen

6:22 AM, Aug. 28, 2011  | 

Written by

Mike Rutledge

 

First of all, I agree that relocating existing companies/tenants at a reduced tax bill is not economic development, it shrinks the pie for all, but this quote is the best....

 

 

 

Quote

 

"The governor of Ohio, I'm being told, is being very aggressive in trying to pull businesses across the river," Banta said. "I don't think that's necessarily good for our region."

 

 

 

Oh really?  What about the last 20 years when RiverCenter was sucking tenants out of downtown Cincinnati and the rest of Ohio, where was your moral high ground then? (FYI I worked at Corporex during that time).

Bill Butler even had a Jim Borgman cartoon in his office showing the RiverCenter complex sucking jobs across the river into Covington.

 

 

COVINGTON - Officials in Northern Kentucky's largest city are concerned two significant employers - Omnicare Inc. and The Nielsen Co. (formerly known as AC Nielsen) - may be lured across the Ohio River or to another part of Northern Kentucky, taking not only two prestigious firms from Covington's riverfront office towers, but also approximately $1 million in combined annual payroll taxes.

 

Covington officials believe a combination of forces have increased the possibility Nielsen and Omnicare may move. They say factors like plentiful office space in downtown Cincinnati - prompting building owners to dangle attractive rents - and more aggressive recruitment efforts by the state of Ohio have caused them to consider sites in Downtown Cincinnati their biggest rivals.

 

http://nky.cincinnati.com/article/AB/20110828/NEWS0103/108290301/Covington-worried-about-Omnicare-Nielsen?odyssey=tab|topnews|text|FRONTPAGE

 

Read more: http://www.urbanohio.com/forum2/index.php/topic,1333.560.html#ixzz3BopjgIU8

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Extremely light on details...

 

 

Mixed-use development could transform Covington

Terry DeMio, tdemio@nky.com 5:04 p.m. EDT September 26, 2014

 

COVINGTON –  The city is making headway on a development on a parking lot at Washington and Pike streets that appears to be part of a larger plan for the urban core.

 

The Covington City Commission has approved a mixed-use development agreement with 730 Washington, LLC, but will not disclose details, saying the developer has not completed plans yet. It could include residential, commercial, parking and public space.

 

http://www.cincinnati.com/story/news/2014/09/26/covington-makes-pact-mixed-use-development/16279159/

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Very exciting!

 

Also, in Newport news (pun intended), the school board is going to sell the elementary school at 4th & Monmouth, half a block from the levee, half a block from the new levee apartment project, and across the street from Towne properties Monmouth row project that has just finished. The project, hopefully conversion plus addition for residential could be another residential boost to downtown Newport. VERY exciting for Newport.

 

Also, a New Mexican restaurant just opened at the levee and got good reviews.

 

Next up, Newport needs to buy into Red Bike, ASAP with a station at the levee. Would be a great connection.

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A while back there was talk about a tower going up on Covington's riverfront.  It was either going to be for condos or apartments.  It looked like a sail and was 30 stories tall.  Then Corporex had an issue with it blocking part of their view and the developer quickly decided not to do it.  Then they decided on some other designs, but not directly on the river.  Haven't heard anything about those either. There was also talk about the IRS wanting to use a smaller footprint where the existing facility is and wanted to build a tower.  Then they were going to let the city have the rest of the land for a convention center expansion. 

 

Anybody heard any articles relating to any of these.  It's like they fell off of the face of the earth never to be talked about again.     

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My father still works for the IRS in Covington, and he hears rumors often about moving to Hebron, consolidating in a new building or moving in with the treasury department in the Gateway Center across the street. Nothing is ever concrete but the rumors are still circling in the building. But no, I haven't heard or seen anything in a long time about that development, but all that land that the IRS takes up plus the stretch of undeveloped riverfront between the Marriot and Clay Wade Bridge makes that area ripe with potential.

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Inside 845 Monmouth

 

The corner of East 9th and Monmouth streets in historic downtown Newport, Kentucky is still sleepy. The one-story building, originally faced with white stucco and flanked by a red tile sub-roof, was home to an El Rico drugstore.

 

newport103.jpg

 

The three-story Italianate Second Empire structure immediately to the east was built prior to 1900. At one point, the upper floors was home to several tenements while ground floor was host to a dry cleaner and other sundries. Today, the upper floors are vacant while the lower level is home to Carabello Coffee.

 

20141027-_DSC3766.jpg

 

It was apparent that the previous owner was in the process of rehabilitating the interior. Some of the plaster walls and ceiling had been removed, revealing beautiful rough-sewn timbers. Buckets of paint and tools were scattered about. New windows were installed. For whatever reason, need it be financial or else, construction did not progress very far.

 

20141027-_DSC3694-merge.jpg

 

20141027-_DSC3594-merge.jpg

 

20141027-_DSC3605.jpg

 

20141027-_DSC3629-merge.jpg

 

20141027-_DSC3681.jpg

 

20141027-_DSC3703.jpg

 

On November 10, 2014, Carabello Coffee announced that they were purchasing the corner building at East 9th and Monmouth, along with an adjoining building, and expanding operations. The addition will feature more seating, a slow bar, roastery annex and a training laboratory. WorK Architecture + Design and the City of Newport is assisting in the development. Check out the before and after for what will be an amazing anchor to the Monmouth Street retail district.

 

20141027-_DSC3732.jpg

 

CarabelloCoffee.jpg

 

More photos: http://urbanup.net/2014/11/11/inside-845-monmouth/

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Good spot to capture Reds fans walking over the bridge also,

 

The Gruff Pizzeria & Deli opening soon in Covington

 

A location at the south end of the Roebling Bridge inspired the name and theme of The Gruff Pizzeria & Delicatessen, opening soon in Covington.

 

....At the 30-plus-foot brick-front bar, there will be eight taps with an emphasis on craft beer, plus wine and liquor.

http://www.cincinnati.com/story/newintown/2014/11/19/the-gruff-pizzeria--deli-opening-soon-in-covington/19241171/

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Canoes, kayaks coming to Waterfront site in Covington

 

This time a business that’s supposed to float down the river will go into the former Waterfront space in Covington.

 

A nonprofit has plans to make the dock where Jeff Ruby’s Waterfront once sat into a kayaking, canoeing and rowing destination.

 

The city-owned property has sat vacant since March 2011, when the Waterfront closed after partially breaking loose from its moorings, eventually sinking in August.

 

Cont


"It's just fate, as usual, keeping its bargain and screwing us in the fine print..." - John Crichton

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Bikers, hikers to see 'bold new era' on NKY riverfront

Scott Wartman, swartman@nky.com 10:11 p.m. EST January 2, 2015

 

 

You should have a much easier time biking and hiking along the shore in Northern Kentucky by the end of 2015.

 

The long-sought-after Riverfront Commons project this year will have some of its most significant construction so far of the planned 11.5-mile walking and biking path along the Ohio River from Fort Thomas to Ludlow.

 

http://www.cincinnati.com/story/news/2015/01/02/bikers-hikers-see-bold-new-era-nky-riverfront/21209409/

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$135 million mixed-use development planned for Drawbridge Inn site

Feb 26, 2015, 2:49pm EST Updated: Feb 26, 2015, 3:11pm EST

Tom Demeropolis Senior Staff Reporter- Cincinnati Business Courier

   

 

More details of the planned redevelopment of the former Drawbridge Inn site in Fort Mitchell were revealed Thursday morning as the project received preliminary approval for the creation of a tax increment financing district.

 

The 22-acre site, located on Royal Drive off Buttermilk Pike, is expected to be a $135 million development. According to a description of the project from the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority, the property will include two medical office buildings totaling about 200,000 square feet, 11,000 square feet of restaurant space, 20,000 square feet of retail space, 150,000 square feet of multi-family residential units and a 60,000-square-foot hotel.

 

http://www.bizjournals.com/cincinnati/news/2015/02/26/135-million-mixed-use-development-planned-for.html

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Anyone know what is happening along the river in Newport/Bellevue just east and somewhat in front of the Comfort Suites? There has been a crane there for several weeks now


"It's just fate, as usual, keeping its bargain and screwing us in the fine print..." - John Crichton

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EXCLUSIVE: Prologis developing $25 million spec building near CVG

Mar 4, 2015, 11:55am EST

Tom Demeropolis Senior Staff Reporter- Cincinnati Business Courier

 

 

Prologis Inc., one of the largest industrial real estate owners in the world, is developing a $25 million speculative distribution facility near Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport.

 

The 520,000-square-foot distribution facility, called Gateway International, is expected to break ground this spring on more than 40 acres of land along Gateway Boulevard in Hebron. The huge building is expected to be completed by the fourth quarter of 2015.

 

http://www.bizjournals.com/cincinnati/news/2015/03/04/exclusive-prologis-developing-25-million-spec.html

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Historic MainStrasse buildings to see new life

Caitlin Koenig | Tuesday, March 24, 2015

 

Thanks to Model Group and Welcome House, 13 buildings in Covington's MainStrasse Village will undergo historic renovations.

 

Renovations will be done in two phases, with the first phase slated for completion by the end of next year. The project was awarded about $700,000 in federal low-income housing tax credits through the Kentucky Housing Corporation, and that money will be applied to 801 and 803 Main St.; 710-712 Greer Ave.; and 257, 301 and 315 W. Seventh St.

 

http://www.soapboxmedia.com/devnews/032415-mainstrasse-village-renovations.aspx

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