NEWPORT, Ky. — Officials from the city of Newport joined representatives of CRG Residential Wednesday in cutting the ribbon and formally dedicating Academy on 4th, the $37 million, 202-unit, market rate apartment building developed on the site of the former Fourth Street Elementary School.
“This building is absolutely gorgeous,” said Newport Mayor Jerry Peluso. “We thank and welcome CRG Residential and all of the new Newport residents who are now living in the Academy on 4th. This project is yet another example of the investment, economic development and new residents coming to our great city.”
Carmel, Ind.-based CRG began collaborating on the project with the city of Newport in 2015. Birge & Held of Indianapolis served as the project’s construction manager. The project, located within walking distance of downtown Cincinnati via the Purple People and Taylor-Southgate bridges, is located along Fourth Street between Monmouth and Saratoga streets.
“The name Academy on 4th is a nod to the academic nature of this property for the Newport community,” said CRG Vice President of Development David George. “With 202 residential units and 3,000 s.f. of retail space, the mixed-use development is centered around a courtyard that includes a resort-style pool and an outdoor kitchen. The interior includes a 206-space parking garage, an amenity center, building offices and an electronic parcel delivery system.”
City Manager Tom Fromme said that the Academy on 4th will join a growing residential boom that includes the construction of more than 700 apartments in the city’s downtown.
“A vibrant downtown neighborhood depends on people living in the urban core,” Fromme said. “The spectacular Academy on 4th brings new resident, investment, attention and excitement to Newport and continues the amazing transformation of our city into one of the best places in Greater Cincinnati, Kentucky and the entire Midwest to live, work, visit and call home.”
CRG is now beginning on the second phase of the project, a rehabilitation of the nearby historic Southgate Street School, which until the mid-1950s served African American students and is now the Newport History Museum.
According to Peluso, The Newport Academy opened on the site in 1799 and was one of the earliest schools west of Pittsburgh. The school, also known as the Newport Seminary, operated until 1850 when a new public school was built on the site. In the 1930s, Fourth Street Elementary was built as part of the Works Progress Administration, or WPA.
Before demolishing the building, CRG donated many of the materials that were inside the school to local charities and worked with the city to preserve portions of an historic stone wall that was part of Fourth Street Elementary. The wall was used to build a fireplace in the building’s courtyard.
Deli boards were made out of the school’s chalkboards. Newport Historic Preservation Officer Scott Clark presented boards to the developers, who also received a key to the city from Peluso and the Newport Board of Commissioners.
Other organizations and individuals involved in supporting the project include the City of Newport Board of Commissioners, the Newport Independent Schools Board of Education, The Catalytic Development Funding Corp. of Northern Kentucky and Southbank Partners.