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Newport receives good news from Corporex, work to begin at Ovation site in 2019

By Don Owen
NKyTribune reporter

Thanksgiving is still a couple of days away, but residents of Newport received an early holiday gift Monday night when Corporex announced it would spend $70 million to begin the development for the Ovation project in the west end of the city.

Tom Banta

“It [Phase 1 of the Ovation development] is about a $70 million investment, you can’t borrow that type of money today,” Tom Banta, managing director of Corporex, told the Newport board of commissioners, “so Corporex is going to front that money and then be repaid out of the TIF (Tax Increment Financing) rather than having bonds, which is the typical way of doing it.”

With the Newport board of commissioners approving a five-year extension of the original TIF, Banta said work on the Ovation site could begin during the first quarter of 2019. He noted the project will include 942 residential units, almost one million square feet of office space and 524 hotel rooms in addition to retail and entertainment venues.

Corporex acquired the land for Ovation in late 2006, developed a master plan involving townhomes, apartments, condominiums, office buildings, hotels, entertainment and retail. Components were engineered and approval for reconstruction of the flood barrier and a raided podium over a three-block sized parking structure were secured.

The company spent two years working with the Kentucky General Assembly to pass Tax Increment Financing legislation to make the public/private development possible. Then the project was delayed waiting for the Route 9 extension.

“We’re very excited, but it’s been a long road to get here,” Banta told the board of commissioners.

Banta said the Ovation development will have a significant impact on Newport’s economy, with estimates of 4,395 direct jobs, 3,800 indirect jobs, plus another 5,000 jobs for construction during the course of the project.

Newport Mayor Jerry Peluso agreed about the economic impact.

“I’m very pleased for our city, this is tremendous news and we appreciate what Corporex is doing with the Ovation project,” he said. “The economic impact it’s going to have on Newport is such a positive. It’s been a long time to get to this point, but it’s going to be worth it with a number of jobs that will be created and the impact the development will have on that part of the city.”

Tom Fromme, Newport’s city manager, echoed Peluso’s sentiments and called Monday’s announcement from Corporex “a momentous occasion.”

“With the positive economic impact the Ovation development will have on Newport, I might be understating it by saying ‘momentous’ because it’s a very exciting time for our city, and this is yet another example,” Fromme said. “There are so many great things happening in Newport. This news tonight from Corporex just adds to that list of growth for this city.”

Banta added that start of construction depends on final approval by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. “We hope for the work to be underway by the first quarter or the second quarter of the year,” he said.

Said Peluso: “This is something we’ve been waiting for, and a lot of people have been very patient for a number of years. When this Ovation project is finished, it’s going to be a sensational addition to Newport.”

Contact the Northern Kentucky Tribune at news@nkytrib.com

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