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Northern Kentucky continues ambitious investment in smart construction

By Robbie Clark

The $80 million Aqua on the Levee is a mixed-use development in Newport that is near completion.
The $80 million Aqua on the Levee is a mixed-use development in Newport that is near completion.

Newport-based EGC Construction knows how to handle major construction projects, as the family-owned company bills $40 to 50 million annually in construction-related services. Ranging in clients from Mercedez-Benz to pharmaceutical production facilities, EGC is locally minded and focused on making Northern Kentucky a thriving place to be.

EGC employs more than 175 people, including those in architectural design, structural engineering and other skilled trades. The company offers a wide-range of niche construction services, including equipment installation and rigging, and environmental and energy planning.

No matter the variety or firm handling the project, construction in Northern Kentucky is booming.

One of the most ambitious development projects on the books in Northern Kentucky has to be the transformative Ovation riverfront complex.

The planned $1 billion mixed-use project by Covington-based developer Corporex was first announced in 2007, but the Great Recession that struck in 2008 put an indefinite timeline on the start of construction, let alone completion.

The Ovation project, when finished, will be a massive complex on Newport’s riverfront just west of Newport on Levee on the Ohio River and Licking River: consisting of 1,000 new residential units, shops, restaurants, entertainment venues, a full-service hotel and 200,000 s.f. of office and retail space.

mrnk-cover300Newport on the Levee, a riverfront arts and entertainment district anchored by the popular Newport Aquarium, has a new attraction development planned for 2017, one that will be the first for Northern Kentucky and certainly change the skyline. Koch Development plans to install a $10 million, 235-foot-tall ferris wheel on the banks of the Ohio River, which will provide 360 degree views of the Cincinnati skyline and the Northern Kentucky riverfront. SkyWheel will feature 30 gondolas, including one VIP vessel; rides of three to four rotations are expected to last 10 to 12 minutes.

Adjacent to Newport on the Levee, the $80 million Aqua on the Levee mixed-use development is nearing completion. This complex will include 239 luxury apartments facing the Ohio River and 8,000 s.f. of  street-level retail, as well as a 144-room Starwood Aloft Hotel – the brand’s first for the Greater Cincinnati Area – and a 850-space parking garage.

East of Newport, early stage work continues in Dayton on the large-scale Manhattan Harbor upmarket residential development along the bend in the Ohio River. The first phase of the evolving project being built by Walker Homes includes 27 single-family riverfront homes, starting at $1 million. Plans for the $470 million development ultimately call for up to 2,000 new homes and commercial developments.

Meanwhile in downtown Covington, the prime corner location at 5th and Main streets (called 501 Main) finally has a future after the property sat vacant for 10 years. Adjacent to MainStrasse Village, the two-acre site will be redeveloped by Flaherty & Collins Properties into a high-end residential development including 187 one- and two-bedroom units along with ground-level commercial space and a 314-space parking garage. Construction is to begin in March 2017, starting with demolition of the current structure on the property.

Away from the riverfront communities, 2016 saw completion of one of the region’s largest-ever developments. Fort Mitchell-based Paul Hemmer Cos. assembled a nearly 900,000-s.f. facility on a 52-acre site adjacent to the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport. The massive, $37 million structure, called LogistiCenter at 275, serves as a distribution hub for Wayfair Inc., one of the world’s largest online retailers for home furnishings and decor. The project is also the largest speculative development on CVG-owned land.

For transportation, construction work continues on the KY-9, or AA Highway, expansion. The new 1.5-mile stretch will start near the Licking Valley Girl Scout Bridge and run parallel to the Licking River and east to the Taylor-Southgate Bridge. The $38 million project will improve and enhance regional connectivity by providing improved access into the Newport riverfront area. The project will be completed in three phases, with the final phase expected to begin construction in 2017.