91 days later, YMCA property changes hands

Developer Guy van Rooyen, front left, and Covington Mayor Joe Meyer, front right, sign agreements to transfer ownership of three properties at Madison Avenue and Pike Street. With the signers were, clockwise from left, attorney Tom Fisher and several City officials: Economic Development Director Tom West (hidden), Finance Director Muhammed Owusu, Assistant City Solicitor Cassandra Zoda, City Solicitor Michael Bartlett, and City Manager David Johnston.

Demolition work starts next week for hotel, bourbon project

COVINGTON, Ky. - With a flurry of signing and an aura of celebration, the City of Covington officially sold the historic YMCA building and associated properties to a developer on Wednesday.
The City owned the building exactly 91 days.
The formal sale clears the way for construction of an estimated $22.5 million project at the corner of Madison Avenue and Pike Street that will include a “bourbon distillery experience,” an addition to nearby Hotel Covington, and about 10,000 square feet of office space.
Guy van Rooyen, president of developer The Salyers Group, told City officials that internal demolition could start as early as Monday or Tuesday.
“It will be exciting to see activity in that building,” van Rooyen said.
Surrounded by their lawyers and various City officials, van Rooyen and Covington Mayor Joe Meyer signed documents to close the sale of three properties: the historic former home of the Wade YMCA at 19 East Pike St., the former Gateway Bookstore Building at 614 Madison Ave., and 21-27 E. Pike St., which is a small lot that holds utility equipment and looks and functions as an alley behind the two structures.
Covington bought the two buildings from Kentucky and Community Technical College System last fall. The City recouped its money, plus maintenance and other costs incurred during the 91 days, Meyer said.
The renovation will include changes to the buildings’ exteriors, including the removal of a new “face” added over the years.


“I’m waiting for that brick façade to come down, piece by piece,” Meyer said.
Van Rooyen said details of the project will be revealed in the near future. But he’s said that it will include about 60 VIP and Presidential suites serviced by the staff and management of the nearby Hotel Covington, run by The Salyers Group.
Meyer handed van Rooyen two enormous rings containing keys to an array of offices within the buildings, then joked that Covington officials hadn’t matched all the keys to all the doors during its short ownership. Although the deed closing took place in a non-descript conference room at City Hall, it carried a feeling of anticipation.
“Here’s to the continuation of a great relationship and the beginning of a great project,” the mayor said.

An artist’s rendering of the new development provided by The Salyers Group and vR Group.