Home » Newport agrees to $20M hotel project at World Peace Bell site

Newport agrees to $20M hotel project at World Peace Bell site

Shaun Pan, owner and operator of a Newport riverfront Hampton Inn & Suites just a block away, will redevelop the block bordered by Monmouth, York, Fourth and Fifth streets with two other Hilton brands – TRU and Home 2 Suites – along with the office building and parking garage.

NEWPORT, Ky – During a special meeting last week, Newport City Commission approved an agreement with hotel operator Shaun Pan — the owner and operator of a riverfront Hampton Inn & Suites — to redevelop the block bordered by Monmouth, York, Fourth and Fifth streets.

The development agreement calls for the developer to spend $20 million by October 2025, as well as outlines the responsibilities of the city and the developer.

For 25 years, a prime piece of downtown Newport real estate has sat largely vacant and underutilized. But after nearly five years of planning and negotiations, the city has reached an historic agreement to revitalize and transform what now is mostly a parking lot with the development of two hotels, office space and a parking garage.

“This is a huge step forward for Newport,” said Newport Mayor Tom Guidugli Jr. “This has taken a lot of work to get there, but we are nearing the finish line.”

Pan will develop two other Hilton brands — TRU and Home 2 Suites — on the site along with the office building and parking garage.

Newport has attempted to attract development to the site over the past several years. In the late 1990s, developers proposed building the Millennium Freedom Tower, a 1,000-foot tower that would have included a restaurant, bar, carillon, gardens and event space. But for various reasons, the structure was not developed.

“The city has always recognized the potential of the site,” Fromme said. “Meeting that potential had presented some challenges — often times due to economic conditions or other factors out of our control — but now we have an outstanding development to fill a void in our downtown.”

Current plans call for The World Peace Bell that now occupies a portion of the site to eventually be relocated to General James Taylor Park along the Ohio River in Newport. An office building that houses Southbank Partners and the World Peace Bell offices will be demolished to make way for the new development.

“We appreciate Shaun Pan and his partners stepping up to the plate and helping the city achieve our vision in developing this consequential property,” said Newport City Manager Tom Fromme. “This site has been a parking lot for 25 years and will now be an impressive mixed-use development. Thankfully, we have a board of commissioners that exhibited leadership in moving Newport to even greater achievements.”

Site preparation has already begun with demolition and construction activity scheduled to intensify beginning in May.

The city has issued a financial inducement for the development of the project through Industrial Revenue Bonds (IRBs), which required approval by not only the city but also the county, the state and the local school district.

“I want to thank the Campbell County Fiscal Court, the Newport Board of Education and the State of Kentucky for their support and partnership of this development,” Mayor Guidugli said.

Southbank Partners, a leading regional economic development organization in Northern Kentucky that has been headquartered at the World Peace Bell site for 14 years, will be relocating to a new location that has yet to be announced.

“On behalf of Southbank Partners, we would like to congratulate the City of Newport and developer Shaun Pan for this visionary and transformational project that has been years in the making and will have a lasting impact on the city and the region,” said Southbank President and CEO Will Weber.


Click here for more Kentucky Business News.
Learn about Advertising to Kentucky’s most valuable audience.