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Hilltop Property in Covington is Sold, Gateway to Use Proceeds on Downtown Project

It is a site that could impact two cities and a college and now the community is closer to knowing what will land on it.

The Kentucky Community & Technical College System (KCTCS) closed on its sale of a hilltop property on Amsterdam Road that straddles the Covington and Park Hills border, and that was previously home to Gateway Community & Technical College's automotive programs and other classrooms.

The automotive programs were moved to the former Robke Ford site on 3L Highway in Ft. Wright and the property was listed for sale.

For months, it was known that there was a buyer, but the Commonwealth of Kentucky, the college system, and Gateway refused to reveal who it was.

That changed on Tuesday when Gateway sent a news release.

The sale of the property at 1025 Amsterdam Road has closed, Gateway said, at a purchase price of $3.2 million. The new owner is CondoView, LLC, a company whose address is the same as a Cincinnati office of real estate brokerage Sibcy Cline, and whose member is listed as William Borek, the CEO of Sibcy Cline. 

Gateway Community & Technical College received notification that the sale of the property on 1025 Amsterdam Road has closed.

In a report at WCPO, it was noted that developer Joshua One would construct between 100 and 200 condos and single family homes on the 26-acre site that features sweeping views of the Cincinnati and Covington skylines. Joshua One was a developer in the Views project on the lower part of the same hillside.

As for the millions collected from the sale, Gateway stated that it would be deposited into the Gateway Urban Campus project where $6.2 million has been spent on acquisitions and construction in Covington. At last week's meeting of Gateway's board of directors, an advisory group with no real power or authority, member Jeff Groob made a motion following a budget presentation that the proceeds be used in Covington as state law mandated. Covington Mayor Joe Meyer, in the WCPO article, made the same point. 

The issue seemed to be superfluous, but Groob's motion narrowly passed at a meeting that was, as usual, strife with contentious exchanges and multiple "time-outs" called by board chair Ken Paul.

"I would like to reflect our support so that money from Park Hills gets invested in capital projects in the City of Covington," Groob said before the vote, referencing a "carve out" in a state appropriation that mandated the funds be used in the Covington city limits. "It's affirming the existence of that law. We are not approving that that money is going somewhere else or is being used somewhere else."

During last week's budget presentation by Gateway staff members, it was noted that the proceeds from the sale of the Amsterdam property would be used to pay down a debt from an advance granted to Gateway by KCTCS in order to jumpstart the urban campus project in downtown Covington. $12.4 million was loaned to the campus and $7.9 million has already been paid. With the $3.2 million applied to it, the debt is reduced to $1.3 million.

Chair Paul said that any debt that Gateway has was a surprise to him as it had never been discussed before the board of directors.

The property was also the topic of another contentious meeting of the Gateway board of directors in April where some members complained that they could not find out who the buyer was.

Meanwhile, at Monday's Park Hills city council caucus meeting, where Joshua One's plans were briefly discussed, Mayor Matt Mattone said that there is no action to be taken yet and that he intends to keep lines of communication open with Covington officials.

-Michael Monks, editor & publisher

Photo: View from the former Gateway property on Amsterdam Road (RCN file)