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More than Burlington, Ross: Newport Shopping District Building Boom On Way

The two large, empty commercial spaces at Newport Plaza II, where Kmart once operated, will soon be occupied by retail giants Burlington and Ross.

But that's not all. 

The new owner of Newport Plaza II, on Carrothers Road, where ALDI has successfully operated for more than two years, has other plans, too.

According to documents reviewed by The River City News, two new buildings are slated to be constructed on the property.

It is unclear what type of businesses will occupy them.

One 8,000-sq. ft. building is planned for "a proposed tenant" on the Monmouth Street side of the property.

Meanwhile, a 3,500-sq. ft. building is also planned for the Carrothers side, directly to the east of the PNC Bank that operates on the site. According to a drawing of the site submitted to the City of Newport and reviewed by RCN, a drive-thru is part of this proposal.

Officials from the site's ownership, Florida-based Gator Investments, could not be reached for comment.

The addition of Burlington, formerly known as Burlington Coat Factory, and Ross, a discount retail department store, will make the larger building on the site completely occupied. This will mark the first location of a Ross store in the Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky area.

A U.S. Army recruitment center is also planned for the smaller strip center on the property where KFC, Jet Pizza, and others are located.

In 2015, Gator president and CEO James Goldsmith told The River City News that two national retailers were close to signing deals to locate on the site. At the time, Goldsmith could not identify them.

At that time, Goldsmith also noted the company's plans to construct the additional buildings. 

The new documents indicating the location of the new buildings were submitted to the city as part of plans for new signage to support Burlington and Ross. The signage requests were approved by the Newport board of adjustment.

"We don't know exactly what their plans are for those but I'm sure they have some sort of prospective tenant for that," Newport city manager Tom Fromme said.

"They have high hopes there."

Hopes are also rising across Carrothers at the Newport Shopping Center and Newport Plaza.

Texas-based Albanese Cormier Holdings purchased the properties in January and multiple new projects are in the works. 

A.C. Moore, an arts and crafts retailer, will open next to Fresh Thyme Farmers Market, marking the chain's second location in Greater Cincinnati. Work is underway on the build-out at the Newport Plaza. Crunch Fitness is also under construction at Newport Shopping Center.

The company also announced plans to the city for a new building that would be constructed to the rear of Planet Fitness. There were no documents associated with those plans available for review by RCN.

Fromme also said that Defenders Direct, a call center based in the shopping center, is expanding.

Meanwhile, the building that was previously home to Bob Evans on Monmouth Street, was sold recently. That property is adjacent to the shopping center but is a separate parcel. The new owner told The River City News that he was not yet ready to announce his plans for the building.

The city is doing its part to improve the area, too.

Fromme said the next phase of work on Carrothers Road will begin in the spring, following the improvements on the eastern end, which including raising the road near LaRosa's. The next phase includes the stretch of road from Firestone to Monmouth on the west side of the street.

Work will include raising the roadway, moving utilities, and improving aesthetics, Fromme said. "It's pretty ambitious."

Monmouth Street will also see work in the coming years, thanks to grants that become available in 2020 and 2021, the city manager said. That work will include reducing overhead utilities and improving pedestrian safety through the underpass.

Written by Michael Monks, editor & publisher
Photos by RCN