Monday, February 20, 2006


Newport Urban Village

Hey... hope you all didn't miss me too much. Combine lots of new clients at work with a trip to Las Vegas for 5 days, and that equals not a lot of blogging. I'm guessing most of you blog readers were able to survive just fine without me though :)

Newport has been in progress of preparing to re-develop the are just West of the Levee for about the past two years. Part of a Hope VI grant that allows them to disperse low-income housing throughout the community instead of concentrated in project housing. They have now moved most of the families (I think about 40 remain) from the complex, and began demolotion on Friday. This process will continue throughout the summer and finish in July.

They have an RFQ (Request for Qualification) out to local and national developers (sound familiar?). Already Towne Properties and Corporex have expressed interest (sound familiar?). The project has to be built atop parking garages so that it is at the top of the Levee and provides views of downtown (sound familiar?). The project will be on 13+ acres of prime downtown Newport real estate on the Ohio River (sound familiar?). In total the project will exceed the cost of Newport on the Levee and the Aquarium, and be a mix of condos, hotels, office and entertainment (sound familiar?). Newport is looking for the developer to cover costs of the land ($10-15 million), and demolotion another few million. (sound familiar?).

So... basically Newport is proceeding with plans to redevelop their riverfront into a mixed used neighborhood to be built from scratch. I am never one to play the Oh vs. KY, Newport vs. Cincinnati card. But let me say if they succeed in finding a developer to put up front cash to pay for garages and land and develop this site it will make Cincinnati/Hamilton County look like a bunch of fools. Here's a vote for Cincinnati cleaning up their house and getting a developer on board before Newport, and watching bothing of these urban development projects on BOTH sides of the river come out of the dirt at the same time!

I couldn't agree you with more. Both coming out of the ground at the same time will give downtown Cincy/N.Ky so much of a buzz that the development could really start to snowball. The beauracracy is such BS with the county and city trying to fight over the rights to develop the Banks....but if you think people are upset now about the Banks not starting....wait until Newport builds an unbelievable riverfront along with Covington and the huge Southshore development and the Harbor on the Greene....should we keep going.
Oh well, I really believe that Fountain Square will be a huge success for downtown....and maybe the Banks will get done next. With all of the new condo development downtown, we have to keep looking at the positives. OK, I'm done venting!
The vision sounds promising, but given that the clowns in charge of Newport have managed to screw up the Levee and the Newport Promenade development -- you betcha I'm bitter about having a WalMart right around the corner from my house -- and have shoehorned hideous McMansions into the working class neighborhood on Park/Vine, I won't hold my breath in hopes of them actually pulling this off with style and class.
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