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Major announcement coming for Newport's long-vacant Ovation site

Posted at 1:09 AM, May 07, 2019

NEWPORT, Ky. — Speaking to Newport City Commissioners in November, Corporex representatives pitched a $1 billion plan for the future of its 35 long-vacant acres near Newport on the Levee — one that would bring hundreds of apartments, 1 million feet of retail space and thousands of jobs to the developing riverfront.

The first phase of development at the Ovation site might start later this week. Corporex, which has owned the land since 2006, plans to make a major announcement Thursday.

“This is something that will last a long time,” Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce president Brent Cooper said Monday. “It’ll have an impact on everybody. It’s in context of all the great things happening in NKY, (from) Newport on the Levee and the aquarium all the way down to Amazon.”

B.J. Santiago, who moved to Newport in March, said good news can’t come soon enough.

“It’s like nobody every does anything with it,” he said Monday of the Ovation site. “You see the vacant land. Everybody always wonders. You pass in your car, (think) ‘This would be good there. One day they’ll put something there.’”

Santiago added he would like to see new restaurants, preferably an upscale steakhouse, added to the space first.

Cindy Hennemann, who also lives in Newport, would prefer a recreation space her 12 grandchildren could use — that or retail.

“Even a grocery store would be great,” she said. “Our grocery store is so far away, and I walk. I’d love to see a grocery store nearby.”

Cooper gave no hints about the exact nature of Thursday’s announcement but described Northern Kentucky’s recent economic growth as part of a journey still gaining momentum.

Getting there took cooperation from agencies across the area, he added. It also took assurance that the developers would have sturdy infrastructure surrounding their project.

“That’s what we’ve been telling people: If you build roads and bridges, good things will happen,” he said. “This will be a major announcement that we’re all really excited about.”