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Newport offering ‘panoramic views, enthusiasm’ with redevelopment of Baptist Convalescent Home site

By Don Owen

NKyTribune reporter

The hilltop property of the one-time Baptist Convalescent Home in Newport is being converted into market-rate condominiums, and residents in that part of the city are excited about the redevelopment.

“The redevelopment of the Baptist Convalescent Home is going to offer panoramic views and enthusiasm in that neighborhood,” said Newport City Commissioner Tom Guidugli. “There were concerns from the neighbors at the beginning about what the development would be. Once they saw what is occurring, excitement is radiating up on the hill and throughout the community.”

The Newport Board of Commissioners authorized up to a $14 million industrial revenue bond Monday night to assist the group from 120 Main Street LLC with the renovations to the property. The developers intend to convert the building into 45 market-rate condominiums.

The one-time Baptist Convalescent Home in Newport is being converted into market-rate condominiums.

Each unit will include either a patio or deck, with exceptional views of downtown Cincinnati. The site currently has more than 100 parking spaces, and the developers are working to improve the common area greenspace. The architect of the 120 Main Street LLC project is Denis Back.

“The design is actually all glass, so it takes advantage of the amazing views of the Cincinnati skyline,” Guidugli said. “That part will actually draw people to the condominiums. It’s one of the best vantage points to capture the Cincinnati skyline.”

The group from 120 Main Street LLC purchased the 4.73 acres of property for $1 million in 2018. In addition to having been a nursing facility, the site at 120 Main Street was once an orphanage in the late 1880s and also a family mansion prior to that.

It was also important to Newport from an economic standpoint before leaving the city for Alexandria.

“The Baptist Home was one of our largest payrolls in the city, so we took a large economic hit when they decided to move,” Newport City Manager Tom Fromme said. “We were worried because it’s in a residential neighborhood, so its commercial use was quite limited without creating huge traffic concerns.

“The fact we were able to land a good developer and they were willing to turn these into condominiums is great. It’s a win-win for the city and the neighborhood up there. They will become 45 units, individually owned and be a vital part of the neighborhood as homeowners. Originally, it was slated to be rental with nearly 100 units. But with 45 units, parking and traffic becomes a non-issue.”

Tom Fromme

Though there is no set timeline for the project’s completion, Fromme said the developers are currently putting together a model on site. “If there is a large amount of interest, I could see this thing moving very rapidly,” he said.

Fromme noted that the $14 million for the industrial revenue bond was the projected cost. “The true cost was probably less than that. A lot of times there’s some cushion in there, just in case of cost overruns.”

Industrial revenue bonds are issued by state and local governments in Kentucky to help finance this type of development. Bond funds may be used to finance the total project costs, including engineering, site preparation, land, buildings, machinery and equipment.

In other items Monday night:

•Amy Tobin from New Riff Distilling gave a presentation about this Friday’s second annual Big Bourbon Toast from 5:30 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. on the Purple People Bridge in Newport.

As an added twist this year, Tobin said a “Tug of War” between Kentucky and Ohio will take place. The winning state will be recognized with a Big Bourbon Toast, a gilded bottle trophy, and an entire year of bragging rights.

•The City of Newport affirmed its support of the upcoming census and will establish a 2020 Census Complete Count Committee. The results of the 2020 Census will help determine each state’s representation in Congress, as well as how certain funds are spent for schools, hospitals and roads.

The Newport Board of Commissioners will again convene in a regular meeting on July 22 at 7 p.m.

Contact the Northern Kentucky Tribune at news@nkytrib.com

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