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Two Big Developments in Bellevue Move Forward

Two large development projects in Bellevue are moving forward, with one on the riverfront and another involving the renovation of a mostly vacant, large warehouse.

Meanwhile, the issue of the employment of the zoning administrator is still up in the air.

At this month's city council meeting, City Administrator Keith Spoelker said that Bellevue has chosen its developer for the riverfront site adjacent to the Harbor Greene condo tower. Louisville-based Marian Development Group was selected after a request for qualifications was issued by the city.

Marian is known in Northern Kentucky for its work on the LaSalette Garden Apartments and, most recently, the Lincoln Grant Scholar House, both in Covington.

As for what's in store for Bellevue, that's not yet clear.

"We're just in the hey-let's-sit-down-and-meet-what-can-we-do phase," Spoelker told The River City News. Those conversations will continue over the next month, he said, as the company puts a development plan together.

A specific proposal was not presented before Marian was selected as the preferred developer. Marian was one of two companies that responded to the company's RFQ.

Community members in Bellevue held multiple public meetings and get-togethers to discuss what residents and businesses want to see happen with the prime real estate near the riverfront. Spoelker said that information and feedback gathered during that process would be used.

The site has long been considered important in the redevelopment of Northern Kentucky's urban cities but had been tied up in litigation between the City of Bellevue and previous owner, the Ackerman Group, which developed Harbor Greene. The city rejected Ackerman's plans to alter its original development plan and to put rental units on the site. The issue went to court, and in a settlement, Bellevue bought the land. 

Spoelker said he did not know when a new development plan would be presented.

Meanwhile, the Kent Building and plans to create more than sixty high-end loft apartments within it, are moving forward.

The building has been the topic of several public meetings and ultimately led to the removal of Scott Enns as the city's zoning administrator after he spoke out against city council members that he said leaked internal documents related to the project. Whether the documents were public has been disputed.

The employment issue is now a legal one, Mayor Ed Riehl and Spoelker told The River City News.

But, even without its zoning administrator, the city is moving forward with a vote on changing the Kent Building's zoning.

A special meeting of city council has been called for Tuesday, December 5, at 7 p.m. at the Callahan Community Center where council members will consider the creation of a new zone, called T-5.3, and then to change the Kent Building's zoning to fit the new designation.

Neighbors have expressed concern over the proposed apartments because there is a shortage of on-street parking nearby, but Tony Kreutzjans of Orleans Development has maintained that there will be plenty of parking within the building, as well as in a nearby lot.

Orleans has developed other high-profile urban projects, mainly in Covington, such as the Boone Block Lofts, the Market Lofts, Madison Flats, Pike Star, and soon, the Bradford Building.

Written by Michael Monks, editor & publisher

Photos by RCN