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North American Properties’ purchase of Newport on the Levee is ‘win-win for everybody’ involved

By Don Owen
NKyTribune reporter

The recent news that Newport on the Levee is being sold to Cincinnati-based North American Properties is a positive for many reasons, according to Newport city manager Thomas Fromme.

“You get a management team that’s closer to this area and knows this region,” Fromme said Monday night at the Newport city commission meeting. “They have a background in dealing with properties like Newport on the Levee. I’ve met with [North American Properties], and they have some good ideas.

“We have a great relationship with the current owners (The Price Group LLC), and they have been great to us over the years. But they’re the ones who recognized they’re so far away — more than 2,000 miles —so it becomes difficult to manage the property. They were very responsible because they would only sell to someone they thought would be beneficial to the city and the property itself.”

Newport on the Levee is being sold to Cincinnati-based North American Properties. The Price Group LLC, based in California, has owned the property at Newport on the Levee since 2001.

The Price Group LLC, based in La Jolla, California, has owned the property at Newport on the Levee since 2001. North American Properties is expected to complete the purchase of Newport on the Levee late this summer.

“The bottom line is, it comes down to logistics,” Fromme said. “North American is here, they will be on site. They’re going to pump in additional capital. They’re going to reimagine the site. It’s really a win-win for everybody.”

Fromme said the sale has nothing to do any with financial struggles. “Not at all. In fact, [The Price Group LLC] had no intention of selling. It was unsolicited, and North American approached them.”

In addition, Fromme pointed out that the current owners put $8 million into the AMC Theatres renovation last year. “Newport on the Levee is doing fine,” he said.

The impending sale will not impact the construction of the Newport SkyWheel project near Newport on the Levee. The SkyWheel will be located north of the Newport Aquarium and Mitchell’s Fish Market in the Newport Festival Park area.

“The SkyWheel is moving forward,” Fromme said. “We still have some administrative things like leases to work out, then we’ll get those to the [U.S. Army Corps of Engineers] for approval. I’m happy with the progress.

“We’re looking at construction beginning sometime in the summer. Then, it’s six to nine months after construction begins until it’s finished.”

In other items Monday night:

• Duke Energy was scheduled to give a presentation on its smart meter program and the installation timeline for Newport homes and businesses, but a representative was unable to attend. “They were going to talk about the process, give our board a heads-up,” Fromme said. “I was waiting for tonight to find out (about the installations), but the presenter had some sort of family emergency and they had to cancel for tonight.”

• Mayor Jerry Peluso was given authorization by the board to proclaim May as Historic Preservation Month in Newport.

• Peluso brought up recent news reports about attacks by pit bulldogs in Milford, and questioned if Newport needs to revisit city ordinances regarding the animals. “I think we need to take another look,” he said.

The board of commissioners will convene again in a regular meeting on June 18 at 7 p.m.

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