2 development projects could bring 125 jobs

City incentives smooth way for potential county school office, new tenant for historic train station

COVINGTON, Ky. – Covington leaders are partnering on two projects that could bring about 125 jobs to Covington and an estimated $1.7 million in payroll taxes in their first five years to fund City services.

The projects – a new tenant for a historic train-station-turned-office-building at Pike and Russell streets and a proposed new central office for Kenton County schools on 3L Highway – would represent over $22 million in new investment in Covington.

To encourage the projects to happen, the Board of Commissioners on Tuesday approved separate job development incentives that are essentially partial reimbursement of future payroll taxes.

“This incentive program has a singular purpose – help stimulate new investment that brings new jobs, new workers, and new revenue to Covington – and in this case it’s doing exactly that,” said Tom West, Covington’s Economic Development director.

About the projects:

Historic Train Station

City Wide Facility Solutions, a facility maintenance business for commercial properties, is buying the former historic train station at 200 W. Pike St. and plans to relocate 31 jobs there in first quarter 2024, said President and CEO Brent Degenhardt.

The company also has plans to create 13 new jobs over the next three years, according to its application.

The company, which currently leases space in Fort Mitchell, said it considered locations in Erlanger, Fort Mitchell, and West Chester (Ohio) before making the $1.375 million investment in the Covington Station building.

“We are excited to be part of the Covington business community,” he said. “The City has been a pleasure to work with, and we believe this move will allow us to continue to attract talented individuals to grow our already amazing team. On top of that, we will have an opportunity to own and occupy a building that has meant so much to Covington. We are honored to call Covington Station our new home!”  

City Wide Facility Solutions (formerly City Wide Maintenance) has been in business for over two decades. It manages 20-plus services for commercial properties, specializing in owner-occupied buildings from 10,000 to 100,000 square feet in the automotive, manufacturing, distribution, institutional, corporate office, and medical markets.

Tischbein Design will remain as a sub-tenant of Degenhardt Enterprises LLC (dba: City Wide Facility Solutions of Southwest Ohio and Northern Kentucky) until Dec. 31, 2024, Degenhardt told the Commission.

School office

The Kenton County School District has proposed building a new central office building at 347 Madison Pike, the site of the former Rolling Hills Nursery just north of Tuscanyview Drive.

The building, currently envisioned at 53,000 square feet, would represent a $21 million investment, according to the application for City incentives.

The project has not yet been approved by the Kenton County School Board, but its application says the district would move 75 employees from space it is currently leasing at the Sanitation District No. 1 building in Fort Wright. Additional employees based at various schools could also be moved to the new building.

If approved by the board, construction on the 8-acre site could start as soon as mid-2024 and completed by the end of 2025.

ROI for taxpayers

Both job development incentives involve reimbursement of 1 percentage point of the City’s 2.45 percent payroll tax for every new job brought to Covington or created in the city over five years, followed by an unincentivized five-year retention period.

According to preliminary estimates, the incentive would be worth an estimated $104,000 for the City Wide Facility Solutions project and an estimated $274,000 for the school building. Beyond that, the projected return on investment to City coffers is estimated at $420,000 for the City Wide Facility Solutions project and $1.29 million for the school office.

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