Covington closes on Mutual Building, downtown redevelopment continues

COVINGTON, KENTUCKY (FOX19) - The city of Covington finalizing the sale of the historic Mutual Building this week.

It's all part of continuing redevelopment downtown. The Mutual Building is on the corner of Madison and Pike and it's been vacant for more than two decades.

The renovations will include space for residential and commercial space.

"I'm looking forward to more people being down here in the neighborhood," said bar owner Donald Smith.

Smith owns three kings bar right across the street from the mutual building.

"I kind of feel like we're on an island. We've been here for two years and haven't had a whole lot of other things going on around us," said Smith.

Smith says too many nearby spots are vacant. But with help from the Catalytic Development Funding Corp, this century old building will soon be transformed into 15 one bedroom apartments with stores and restaurants on the first floor.

"It's going to help every small business on the street. Maybe light up some of these storefronts," said Smith.

Covington commissioner Steve Frank says the development doesn't stop there. Just down the street the old city hall will soon be a $30 million hotel with more than 100 rooms.

"I think this is where people are going to want to be," said Covington Commissioner Steve Frank.

Some describe the facelift these buildings will soon get as "urban renewal", and Frank says it's a chance for them to really compete with surrounding cities.

"Over-the-Rhine we wish them much success, the Banks much success but they're getting really pricey. If you want to have a location where things are going to happen, I'd get in early. It's a gem, we're the Brooklyn to Manhattan," said Frank.

Smith says they usually have to open late because there's not a lot of foot traffic outside their place, but he hopes soon that's a thing of the past.

"This whole project the development that's going on down here it's the light at the end of the tunnel," said Smith.

"This whole area this is ground zero for development of Covington. It's happening, it's cutting edge here, this is where life happens," said Frank.

Commissioner Frank says something that really separates their city is the architecture in many of their buildings.

He says once this development gets going, he won't be surprised if more of these vacant buildings become occupied.

Work on the Mutual Building could begin as soon as next week and the project should be completed in about a year.

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