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Effort to Knock Down Bavarian Brewery Building Heads to Next Level of Courts

The City of Covington was the victor in a recent court case to save the Bavarian Brewery building from demolition.

But that turned out to be just round one of the legal battle that began more than a year and a half ago.

In May, Kenton County Circuit Judge Patricia Summe agreed with the City of Covington, its city commission, and its urban design review board that owner Columbia Sussex would be in violation of the redevelopment plan for the historic site if the buildings were razed. Columbia Sussex, the Crestview Hills-based operator of hotels and casinos which purchased the building nearly a decade ago in anticipation of Kentucky's legalizing casino gambling, has argued that the site is more appealing to potential developers without the buildings.

Kentucky never legalized casinos and Columbia Sussex wants to sell the property. The company has now filed a notice of appeal with the Kentucky Court of Appeals, the next step in the legal process, and one step shy of the Kentucky Supreme Court.

It was first reported by The River City News in September 2014 that Columbia Sussex intended to raze the buildings, a plan that drew protests and online petitions opposing the company. In November of that year, the urban design review board rejected the plan and in January 2015, the city commission unanimously agreed to uphold the UDRB's decision. The case then went to Kenton Circuit Court where it lingered for nearly a year before last month's decision from Judge Summe.

The appeal was discussed briefly at Monday's special meeting of the urban design review board which was called to approve changes to an unrelated downtown project. City officials could not comment much to the board, assistant city solicitor Don Warner said, because it is an active court case.

A court date has not been announced.

-Michael Monks, editor & publisher

Photo: Bavarian Brewery building (RCN file)