Covington's former YMCA building gets a new lease on life

Posted at 5:26 PM, Dec 04, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-05 12:42:48-05

COVINGTON, Ky — Over the years, Motch Jewelers has watched the neighborhood around them grow and change, with one exception: the old YMCA building.

Now, even that building is getting a new lease on life; it's slated to become a luxury hotel with retail space and 10,000 sq. feet of office spaces.

"This is the last major building right in this corridor and it's so large, over 72,000 square feet, that it has been a question of 'What do we do with this space?'" said Joe Meyer, Covington mayor.

The $22.5 million project is expected to bring more than 100 jobs to downtown Covington. The project will be funded by the Salyers Group and vR Group. The developers said they plan to restore the building's historic charm while breathing new life into it.

"For someone who was down here when all these buildings were empty ... ," said Shirley Alley, with Motch Jewelers. "There was nobody down here. It was a ghost town. It really was a ghost town. And now to see it so alive is just refreshing."

Guy van Rooyen, president and CEO of Salyers Group, said groundbreaking is set to begin in January 2020.

"Our goal has always been to overshoot the market," said van Rooyen. "We're looking four or five years out in terms of where the quality and the asset class should be."

The new hotel will be an extension of Hotel Covington and will house VIP and Presidential suites. There are also plans to include an urban distillery alongside office space.

"It's been sitting empty for at least five years, so to have the Hotel Covington step up and take their incredibly successful project and expand it here is an indication of the growth that Covington is experiencing," said Meyer.