Façade loans OK’d in Westside, Austinburg

The building at 1928 Madison Ave.

Projects creating 1st-floor commercial space

COVINGTON, Ky. - Two projects that are renovating buildings to create first-floor commercial space and upper-floor apartments are getting financial help from the City of Covington toward exterior improvements.
The buildings - at 1131 Holman St. and 1928 Madison Ave. in the Westside and Austinburg neighborhoods, respectively - were approved for forgivable façade loans under the City’s Small Business Program by the Board of Commissioners on Tuesday night.
“Supporting small businesses is more important than ever. While these two facade grants may seem small, they continue to improve Covington block-by-block and will help us attract new businesses to our neighborhoods," said Ross Patten, assistant economic development director at the City.
The Commission set aside $150,000 for the program in the current budget cycle, or roughly $37,500 a quarter, but the COVID-19 pandemic has slowed applications, Patten said.

The building at 1131 Holman Ave.

 The projects: 
  • 1928 Madison - ZW Properties, LLC has already invested $74,550 into renovating the upstairs apartments and “white-boxing” the commercial space on the first floor to attract a future tenant. The City’s $4,200 loan will cover half the cost of painting the exterior. Patten noted that the painting will be done by a local contractor and that the LLC is minority-owned, both of which gained the application extra “points.” 
  • 1131 Holman - The Center for Great Neighborhoods is spending $176,000 to do interior renovation for an upstairs apartment and a future coffee shop on the first floor. The City’s $6,000 loan will go toward a $19,350 façade improvement that will include painting (using a local contractor), window repairs, cornice repairs, and adding lighting and a commercial storefront. 
Not counting this round of funding, the program has helped 53 small businesses in Covington with first-year rent or façade improvements since the beginning of 2018.
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