A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

DBL Law announces plans to redevelop Monarch Building, move headquarters to downtown Covington

NKyTribune staff

DBL Law, Northern Kentucky’s largest law firm and a bedrock of the region’s legal, business and philanthropic communities for six decades has announced plans to move from its current headquarters in Crestview Hills to the historic Monarch Building in downtown Covington.

DBL will bring as many as 76 employees to the city when it moves into the Monarch Building in the 100 Block of East Fourth Street in about a year, building on the economic resurgence that is underway in Covington’s urban core. 

Top, an early rendering of the Monarch Building restoration and expansion shows the preserved façade, the extra two floors (left), and the new building (at right) with the connecting atrium. (Photo provided by PCA Architecture). At bottom is the vacant Monarch Building as it looks today, with the low-slung garage annex at right (provided). Click to enlarge.

The move harkens back to DBL’s roots while positioning the firm for future growth, said DBL Managing Partner Robert Hoffer.

“DBL is actually coming home with our new headquarters,” Hoffer said. “The firm was founded in Covington and when I joined the firm in 1980, we were located on Garrard Street. Now, 40 years later, we are returning to be part of the reclamation of an historic building that is in the middle of a vibrant area.

DBL Law is a full service law firm, representing businesses, nonprofit entities and individuals. It has offices in Cincinnati and Louisville, in addition to Northern Kentucky, all of which continue to experience growth.

“We came to the conclusion about a year ago that we either need to grow our present location in Crestview, or we needed to move,” Hoffer said. “The decision involved a lot of soul-searching, a lot of future planning and discussion among all of the partners, including the young partners. The consensus was that everyone wanted to be part of the economic resurgence happening in Covington.”

The input from DBL’s younger partners and the opportunity to attract new talent were critical in the process. Hoffer said discussions with CTI Clinical Trial and Consulting Services executives about why they chose to relocate to Covington in 2016 carried a lot of weight.

“Talking to Tim Schroeder and Paul Ritter about that move and how the vibrancy of the area really drove the attractiveness for young professionals to really want to work in that area.” Hoffer said.

The chance to be part of the reclamation of an historic building in an area the partners had identified as a preferred location cinched the deal.

“As we work to attract talent in the future, this building – along with the success and reputation of DBL Law – will be a huge driver for us, separating DBL from our competitors,” Hoffer said. “It will be a place where people will want to work and build their careers.”


Developer Alan Haehnle, who is known for his work reclaiming historic urban buildings and structures, is restoring the Monarch Building – known for the tool company that once inhabited the site – in an $11.3 million, 30,000-square-foot project. 

“Al Haehnle has just done a phenomenal job with other historic projects in Covington and in bringing those landmark buildings back to life,” Hoffer said. “When he presented this option to us, to kind of taking this historic building and renovate it and add a new building to that, we were all in.”

Haehnle is fusing the existing structure with a new building. The four-story headquarters building is being designed by PCA Architecture of Fort Wright.

Featuring two outdoor patios/decks that will offer striking views of downtown Cincinnati, the design captures the historic beauty of the Monarch Building with a modern touch that exemplifies both the tradition of Covington as Northern Kentucky’s business hub and the vibrancy and growth that is taking place in the downtown core. 

“I’ve worked with DBL for years as a client of the firm,” Haehnle said. “I’ve seen up close the firm’s commitment to Northern Kentucky and investing in and supporting the community. I’m honored to be a part of this tremendous project that will build on the economic development momentum that Covington is experiencing.”

Hoffer compared the planned renovation of the Monarch Building to the restoration of the Bavarian Brewery, which is now the Kenton County Administration Building.

“I would never have envisioned that (the Bavarian building) could be as beautiful as it is,” Hoffer said. “Our building will be similar in that it will have an historic building on the left and a new building connected on the right in the area that we really want to be.”

DBL has worked closely with Covington City officials on the project and the City Commission approved a development plan that will allow the project to move forward Tuesday. 


“When DBL told us they wanted to move back to their roots, we were eager to talk,” Mayor Joe Meyer said. “Covington is gaining a quintessential Northern Kentucky law firm, a lot of jobs, and the return to use of a historically significant building in an area that’s building momentum. This is a meaningful project.”

 “Mayor Joe Meyer and the Covington City Commission, Economic Development Director Tom West and the entire city staff has been incredibly supportive, helpful and welcoming,” Hoffer said. “We have watched as leading Northern Kentucky companies and institutions have made investments in Covington’s urban core. It is exciting to be now part of that renaissance. We are convinced there is much more to come.”

Hoffer sees the move as an extension of one of DBL’s core tenets – giving back to the communities it serves. 

“It’s part of who we are,” Hoffer said. “We ask every attorney in the office to find a nonprofit that they have a passion for to get involved and give back. This is just another attempt by us to become part of that community.”

Among the companies that have recently invested in Covington is Edgewood-based St. Elizabeth Healthcare, a DBL client that in 2009 opened a medical campus that includes an emergency room along Interstate 75.

An updated rendering of the reimagined Monarch Building in Covington that will become headquarters to DBL Law. The firm is returning to Covington’s urban core after a 40-year absence (rendering courtesy of PCA Architecture).

“I speak for the entire St. Elizabeth family by welcoming DBL back to Covington,” said St. Elizabeth CEO Garren Colvin. “DBL has been a tremendous partner of St. Elizabeth for decades. Not only is DBL respected for its legal expertise, but the firm has a well-earned reputation for giving back to the community. This announcement is another example of how the firm and its people support and believe in Northern Kentucky and Covington.”

Hoffer said DBL looked at other sites in Covington but really wanted to be a part of the community it ultimately chose. The decision by so many of its clients, including St. E, wanting to be there was also a factor.

“St. Elizabeth is a major client  of ours that has invested a lot of money in recent locations in Covington, obviously the Diocese of Covington is a client and their headquarters are now in Covington,” Hoffer said. “A lot of the banks that we do work for — Huntington Bank, Republic Bank, First Financial — are coming back to Covington, so we just saw a lot of synergy. As we continue to grow, we think it is going to give us the opportunity to really grow our business with the vibrancy that is taking place in Covington. We think it will also help with recruitment.”

DBL has been in existence for more than 60 years. It has 97 employees, including 44 attorneys. For more information, click here.

Contact the Northern Kentucky Tribune at news@nkytrib.com

Related Posts

Leave a Comment