COVINGTON, Ky. — The long-awaited redevelopment of 23 acres near the Ohio River moved a big step closer to reality Tuesday.
The Covington Board of Commissioners authorized the city to borrow the money needed to buy the site, demolish the former Internal Revenue tax-processing facility that dominates 17 of those acres, and improve the property to prepare it for private development.
“This is clear evidence of the city’s commitment to move promptly on the redevelopment of a project that will shape downtown Covington for decades,” Covington Mayor Joe Meyer said. “And the timing is good — the city’s recent credit upgrade will help make borrowing more affordable.”
After four months of negotiation, the federal General Services Administration in March accepted the city’s offer of $20.5 million for the site, which one East Coast commercial developer referred to as one of “the most exciting land redevelopment opportunities between Baltimore and New Orleans.”
The city paid $2.05 million in earnest money toward that purchase.
The ordinance approved by the commission on a 4 to 1 vote authorizes the city to issue up to $30 million in debt to raise funds to move forward on the massive project.
Meyer and commissioners Michelle Williams, Tim Downing and Shannon Smith voted in support. Denny Bowman voted against.
- $18.45 million for acquisition.
- $5 million for demolition.
- $4.05 million for site improvements and contingency costs. Site work would include restoring the street grid, extending utilities and building WiFi infrastructure. Contingency costs would include construction management, an environmental assessment (and addressing any problems discovered), a survey and platting.
- $2.5 million to reimburse the General Fund for money the City paid for public parking as part of the John R. Green project under way in MainStrasse Village. (This will in turn be repaid by future revenue from that public parking.)
- Jobs and tax revenue from a variety of workplace environments.
- A mixture of uses and outdoor spaces.
- A walkable and drivable street grid.
- Enhanced connections to the Ohio River.
- Integration with surrounding neighborhoods and business centers.
- A flexible framework to accommodate market demand and proposals.