Proposals sought for 17 Westside properties

The building at 1110 Locust St.

Development bids to return vacant buildings, lots to housing use 

COVINGTON, Ky. – A program that has returned or is in the process of returning 44 previously vacant City-owned properties to productive use – with the goal of creating more home ownership – is seeking development proposals for its biggest assortment of properties to date.
The City is seeking buyers who want to develop 11 pieces of land and renovate six vacant brick buildings in a several-block area of the Westside neighborhood, just north of M.L. King Jr. Boulevard/12th Street. One of the buildings is grouped with the 11 parcels under one RFP (request for proposal), and the other five buildings are each under their own RFPs.
“This program has been very successful at eliminating blight, creating housing, bringing investment and energy to Covington’s neighborhoods, and – we anticipate over the long term – increasing nearby property values,” said Neighborhood Services Director Ken Smith, whose department oversees the program. “The opportunities with this list of properties are particularly interesting given their close proximity to each other.”
The proposals are due to the City by 4 p.m. May 4.
The goal of the program is to return to productive use vacant properties that currently are a drain on taxpayers because of the costs of upkeep, which the Covington Board of Commissioners has identified as one of its priorities.
Properties that have “graduated” from the program include 1118 Lee St., featured HERE, and 954 and 956 Philadelphia St., featured HERE.
These Westside properties were generally acquired by the City in the early 2000s under an anti-blight program, and several buildings that were in the worst shape were subsequently demolished. But the City’s redevelopment goals for the parcels at the time were put on hold with the arrival of the 2008 recession and its lingering effects on City revenues and the financial markets.
However, over the last few years, Westside has seen significant investment in both commercial and residential properties, including the Kenton County Administration Building several blocks away, “and it’s time for the City to keep its original commitment to the neighborhood,” Smith said.
The proposals will be evaluated based on a number of factors, primarily the proposed developments’ contribution to the neighborhood and offered purchase price.
Neighborhood park
Recognizing that several of the vacant lots had been used as “green space” and a community garden, five nearby empty lots for which the City is not seeking proposals will be set aside for a public park. The City will work in partnership with the neighborhood to design that space, including amenities.
The RFPs
The individual RFPS can be accessed through the City’s procurement page, located HERE.
The largest RFP consists of a one-story brick building of about 1,300 square feet at 1038 Jackson St. and 11 vacant parcels of land, all of which will be sold together. The parcels are divided into four groups consisting of lots that are adjacent to each other.  The City is open to a reconfiguring or re-platting of the parcels.
The “groups:”
  • Five parcels totaling about 9,000 square feet (or 0.21 acres) at 1034 and 1040 Jackson St., and 1109, 1111-15, and 1117 Locust St.
  • Three parcels totaling about 5,700 square feet (or 0.13 acres) at 314, 316, and 318 Orchard St.
  • Two parcels totaling about 3,100 square feet (0.07 acres) at 1104 and 1106 Locust St.
  • One parcel of about 3,000 square feet (0.07 acres) at 310 Berry St. 
The other five RFPs consist of individual two-story buildings:
  • 301-03 Orchard St., about 1,300 square feet.
  • 311-13 Berry St., about 2,000 square feet.
  • 318 Berry St., about 1,200 square feet.
  • 1108 Locust St., about 800 square feet.
  • 1110 Locust St., about 900 square feet. 
Several of the properties fall within the 12th Street Corridor Redevelopment Plan Design Overlay, which means they’re subject to certain design standards similar to those in the City’s Historic Preservation Overlay Zones. Details are in the RFPs.
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