Home » Key funding in place for planned $26M OneNKY Center

Key funding in place for planned $26M OneNKY Center

Construction to start this summer on home for business growth organizations
An artist rendering of the planned OneNKY Center at the foot of the John Roebling Bridge. It will house Northern Kentucky economic development, business support and professional organizations.

FORT MITCHELL, Ky. – The Northern Kentucky Port Authority (NKPA) announced approval of a key piece of funding for the OneNKY Center by the Kenton County Fiscal Court.

The OneNKY Center at the foot of the John A. Roebling Suspension Bridge will be the 43,000-s.f. home of Northern Kentucky’s growth organizations. These include the OneNKY Alliance; Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce; meetNKY; BE NKY Growth Partnership; The Catalytic Fund of Northern Kentucky; Horizon Community Funds of Northern Kentucky; the Northern Kentucky Bar Association; and Covington Life Sciences Partners (CLSP). All tenants have committed to locating in the building.

Court members unanimously OK’d credit enhancement for up to $10M in construction bonds scheduled to be issued by the Kentucky Association of County Officials (KACo) Finance Corporation and underwritten by Compass Municipal Advisors.

The bonds are a critical component of the capital stack for the OneNKY Center, which will be owned by the NKPA. 

“Bringing key regional organizations handling economic development, tourism, etc., together in the OneNKY Center will improve their ability to elevate Northern Kentucky, while increasing the efficiency of their backroom operations,” said Kenton County Judge/Executive Kris Knochelmann. “As we work to create a thriving and prosperous Northern Kentucky, we need every component of our community operating at the highest level, and the OneNKY Center will help us achieve that.” 

“Having initiated this coalition of dedicated people and organizations, in partnership with the Catalytic Fund, working toward building a more meaningful future for our community was a major priority for the OneNKY Alliance and was simply exhilarating,” said Karen Finan, president/CEO of OneNKY Alliance. “This project has been an important initiative for many key Northern Kentucky organizations over the past four years and now, we cannot wait to see what happens next.”

The Catalytic Fund led and aligned sources of funding for the OneNKY Center. Funding for the $26M building comes from the planned bond issuance in addition to the purchase of the land by St. Elizabeth Healthcare, funding from the CLSP for Covington Life Sciences Lab, the Haile Foundation, Horizon Community Funds, Durr Foundation, and Drees Foundation.

Jeanne Schroer, CEO of the Catalytic Fund of Northern Kentucky, noted that the OneNKY Center will add to the renaissance happening in the City of Covington. 
“The location for the OneNKY Center is ideal. It will be a signature building at the front door to NKY,” said Schroer. “It will complement all the new development in the Roebling Point neighborhood while serving as a catalyst for exciting new developments along the riverfront and throughout the region.” 

The building is 93% leased and will feature 44 underground parking spaces. After an RFP process, Corporex has been named the design build contractor. Construction is slated to start this summer.

“The OneNKY Center is a significant achievement for the Northern Kentucky Port Authority,” said NKPA Executive Director Christine Russell, VP of Strategy at BE NKY Growth Partnership. “Getting the building financed and leased represents a tremendous amount of collaboration between the OneNKY Alliance, Catalytic Fund, Kenton County, and many other organizations. I’d like to thank all our partners for their hard work in reaching this milestone.”

The NKPA is a multi-jurisdictional Port Authority under Kentucky statute that allows each judge/executive and fiscal court of the three counties, as founders of the organization, to appoint two board members to serve four-year terms. Officer roles are determined by the board and are held for a one-year term. In 2023, the following board members and officers were appointed and named.

•    Roger Peterman, Partner, Dinsmore, Chair (Campbell County)
•    J.B. Lind, Partner, Vorys, Vice Chair (Boone County)
•    Christine Russell, VP of Strategy, BE NKY Growth Partnership & Executive Director, NKPA, Secretary – Treasurer
•    Lee Crume, President & CEO, BE NKY Growth Partnership (Kenton County)
•    Karen Finan, President & CEO, OneNKY Alliance (Kenton County)
•    Greg Larison, Vice President of Surveying Operations, Viox & Viox (Boone County)
•    Larisa Sims, Director of Business Administration, Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG) (Campbell County)
•    Ben Brandstetter, Brandstetter Carroll (BE NKY Board Liaison, non-voting attendee) 

Activating the NKPA was one of four initiatives included in the Build + Elevate Northern Kentucky investor campaign launched and concluded in 2022 by BE NKY. The NKPA Board of Directors approved a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) contracting management of the NKPA with BE NKY Growth Partnership and naming Christine Russell its executive director in June 2022. 

“Launching the Northern Kentucky Port Authority as an active player in economic development has been a priority of our board of directors for several years,” said Lee Crume, president/CEO of BE NKY Growth Partnership. “In 2019, we began the groundwork that led to the role the NKPA is playing in the OneNKY Center and are proud that it is the building’s owner.” 

“MeetNKY, Northern Kentucky’s tourism organization, is excited and enthusiastic about the coming groundbreaking for the ‘OneNKY Center’ at the edge of the region along the Ohio riverfront,” said Julie Kirkpatrick, president/CEO of meetNKY. “This unique collaborative space will allow greater synergies between all the NKY growth organizations focused on showcasing the region as a great place to work, live, and visit.”

“Because the work we do on behalf of our members takes place across the entire Northern Kentucky metro region, the NKY Chamber will continue to maintain our Fort Mitchell office to convene committee meetings and host smaller Chamber events for our more than 1,100 active volunteers and almost 1,700 members,” said Brent Cooper, president/CEO of NKY Chamber of Commerce.

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