Friday, October 26, 2012

Covington to get $25M boutique hotel

The Catalytic Development Funding Corp. of Northern Kentucky's scored its first major win Thursday with the announcement of Hotel Covington, a $25 million redevelopment of a historic building into a boutique hotel.

The Covington-based Salyers Group is partnering with the City of Covington and the Aparium Hotel Group to rehabilitate the 102-year-old former Coppin's Department Store building at 7th Street and Madison Avenue, creating 107 luxury guest rooms, a signature restaurant and bar.

"We see this hotel as a truly catalytic project and a great opportunity to restore another historic building in the heart of downtown Covington while at the same time bringing additional visitors, from further away, to this wonderful community," Salyers Group President Guy van Rooyen said in a prepared release.

City officials hope that the hotel could be ready for guests by mid-2014. A timeline for redevelopment is expected within the next 30 days.

The Salyers Group operates the nearby Madison Event Center and Madison Avenue Wedding Mall, which attract more than 100,000 visitors annually. Those venues generate more than 3,500 hotel room nights per year, which the city would like to capture.

It also means an estimated 125 new jobs.

"We believe this $25 million investment represents one of the most significant economic development drivers in Covington's history and the city is very supportive of this project," Mayor Chuck Scheper said.

The seven-story structure, designed by Cincinnati architect James Gilmore, was the first reinforced concrete "skyscraper" in Kentucky.

The City of Covington has donated the building, which has housed its City Hall since 1990. The city occupies less than 20 percent of the building's available 80,000 square feet of space and likely will look to lease office space elsewhere.