5 Covington projects saluted as model historic rehabs

Rehab of the Lincoln Grant Scholar House turned a blighted building into a catalyst.

COVINGTON, Ky. - To see how committed rehabbers can turn historic buildings into exciting modern uses, check out Covington’s winners in the annual River Cities Excellence in Preservation Awards program. 

Five projects were among those honored Thursday evening at a ceremony in Newport for work completed in 2017 that demonstrated outstanding efforts to preserve, maintain, fix up and reuse a historic property. Projects from Newport, Ludlow and Bellevue were also honored.
“These projects exemplify the diversity of what we mean when we say ‘historic rehab,’ because it’s not a homogenous term,” said Emily Ahouse, Preservation and Planning Specialist for the City.
“Especially in Covington, where we’re blessed with thousands of historic structures and a lot of rehab projects, it’s not surprising that we’re honoring projects undertaken by both non-profit and for-profit owners, that range in size from small to large, and that are both residential and commercial.”
Covington’s winners, and the category in which they won: 
  • SIDIS, in the Adaptive Reuse category, for The Warehouse at SIDIS. 
  • Lighthouse Transportation Services, in the Exterior Restoration-Commercial category, for 100-102 W 6th St. 
  • The Center for Great Neighborhoods, in the Rehabilitation-Residential category, for 301 W. Robbins St. 
  • The Northern Kentucky Community Action Commission, in the Project Excellence category, for the Lincoln Grant Scholar House. 
  • Orleans Development, for the Stewardship Award. 
Winners received an engraved glass plaque adorned with a picture of their project at the ceremony, which comes at the end of National Preservation Month.
Covington accepted nominations in eight categories. More about the winners:
Adaptive Reuse: SIDIS expanded its space into the warehouse at 630 Russell St. Originally an industrial warehouse and then a German dance hall, the building more recently was used as a gym. Now - after a dramatic transformation - it contains offices, meeting space and work spaces around a central open area.
The existing steel roof trusses were left exposed, along with glass garage doors, and the exterior received only aesthetic changes.

 The Warehouse at SIDIS at 630 Russell St.

Exterior Restoration-Commercial: Historically, the building at 100-102 W. 6th St. was a firehouse. It still looks like a firehouse, because Lighthouse Transportation Services repaired and restored its existing features while transforming it into offices on the upper floor and commercial use on the first floor.
New coping was added to the roof, windows at the side and rear which had long been covered were restored as operable window openings, and many other architectural details were protected.

 The rehabbed former firehouse at 100-102 W. 6th St. 

Rehabilitation-Residential category:
The house at 301 W. Robbins St. had been vacant for many years when it was acquired by the Center for Great Neighborhoods. The agency then undertook a full rehabilitation that required completely rebuilding the frame portion of the house due to extensive water damage. The project required removing a crawl-space foundation to the rear and pouring a new slab, as well as putting new framing and repairing the stone foundation in the middle section of the house. The interior received a comprehensive rehabilitation while retaining its historic character and many original design elements.
The two-bedroom house was recently sold.

The single-family house at 301 W. Robbins St.

Project Excellence: The huge building at 824 Greenup St. is on the National Register of Historic Places and is an African American Heritage Site. It was dedicated in the early 1930s as Lincoln Grant School, Covington’s K-12 public school for African-American students, and later housed Twelfth District Elementary and the Northern Kentucky Community Center.
It had been vacant since 2006 when the Northern Kentucky Community Action Commission transformed the building into the Lincoln Grant Scholar House - a multi-family development for single parents who are also full-time college students. The renovated building has 25 units, while 20 units are in a newly constructed building nearby. The project turned a blighted building into an innovative housing and education model with far-reaching impact.

The Boone Block is one of Orleans Development's many historic rehabs.

Stewardship Award: This award was presented to Orleans Development to recognize the role the company and its founder, Tony Kreutzjans, has played and continues to play in the ongoing revitalization of Covington and continued preservation of the City’s significant historic structures.
Orleans Development has been involved in large- and small-scale projects throughout the City, including the Market Lofts, The Boone Block and the recently completed Greenpoint building. Current projects include the redevelopment of multiple properties on Madison Avenue as commercial space and rental units, and the redevelopment of the Bradford Building on Scott Boulevard as commercial space and condominiums.
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