County’s move = Big changes at 2 Covington sites

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Work is entering its final stages on the new Kenton County government complex, which includes both new construction (upper left) and a rehab of the historic Bavarian Brewery (right). This view is from West Pike Street.

Construction nearing end at former Bavarian Brewery 

COVINGTON, Ky. - If you see a convoy of moving trucks driving west through downtown Covington the first two weekends of September, here’s why:
 
Kenton County will soon be moving its offices from the 10-story administration building at 303 Court St. to the new consolidated complex being built next to and around the former Bavarian Brewery at 12th Street and Simon Kenton Way.
 
The two-year $30 million construction and rehab project is entering its final stages - and not a moment too soon, Kenton County Judge-Executive Kris Knochelmann told Covington residents at the monthly Latonia Business Association luncheon meeting this week.
 
“I tend to be an impatient person. I was hoping this would have been done in early ’19,” Knochelmann said. “But the good news is (in less than two months) we’ll be moving in.”
 
That will mean big changes for governance in Kenton County, since the new complex will consolidate under one roof County government operations from five existing locations and include virtually every County official and office, such as the Fiscal Court, the County and Commonwealth’s Attorneys offices, the Sheriff, the PVA, the County and Circuit Clerks Offices, and PDS (Planning and Development Services of Kenton County), Knochelman said.
 
“We’re very excited about that,” he told the LBA crowd. “This is a 50-year to 75-year solution.”
 
It also will bring big changes and new life to two areas of Covington.
 
The new complex, tucked in against Interstate 75 on the city’s western side, will be home to about 350 employees, the judge-executive said. And whereas the county once considered putting a deli or other commercial venture in the complex, it now wants employees to get out and eat lunch, for example, in the surrounding area, he said.
 
Meanwhile, work will begin almost immediately on turning 303 Court St. - a 10-story office tower that’s been about half vacant for almost a decade - into apartments and ground-floor restaurant/retail space, Knochelmann said.
 
The county hopes to turn over ownership of the building in October, and Turner Construction Co. will begin stripping the building down to its brick exterior and concrete floors, he said. Plans include more than 100 apartments and 5,000 square feet of restaurant/retail with some on-site parking.
 
To help make the project happen, the Covington City Commission will vote Tuesday night on an application that will start the process to make technical modifications to the City’s zoning code to accommodate that number of apartments on the site’s narrow footprint. The application is on the Commission’s consent agenda.
 
Mayor Joe Meyer, who attended Knochelmann’s presentation, said the City was excited about the County’s pending move.
 
“Having that complex open with all those employees there on a daily basis will bring new life to that end of 12th Street and the neighborhood businesses in that area, and - likewise - bringing over 100 apartments to the Roebling Point District will continue the transformation of that area,” Meyer said. “These are some pretty big investments.”
 
About the Brewery
The county’s new complex combines new construction and rehab of the historic Bavarian brewery building, which dates back almost to 1900.
 
Bavarian closed in 1966, and the site sat mostly vacant for decades until Brew Works operated a microbrewery, store, and related ventures in 1996-98. The Jillian’s nightclub and entertainment complex opened in late 1998 and closed abruptly in 2006.
 
The County bought the site in 2016.
 
About 303 Court St.
The 10-story building opened in 1970 as a joint city-county building, with City offices on the 2nd and 3rd floors and County offices and the jail in the rest of the space. As the inmate population grew, City Hall was squeezed out and left completely in 1985. Jail operations moved out in 2010. 

The old Kenton County administration building will be turned into apartments.

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