Member Login

Attorney Buys Historic Building that Was to Be Torn Down

Six or seven years ago attorney Christopher Jackson was looking for a home for his new law practice, housed in an office at Park Place, and set his sights on 121 East Fourth Street, one of Covington's oldest buildings. "Just because of its location and it's historic, but I couldn't afford it back then," Jackson said. Instead he purchased and renovated a different nineteenth century building on the 700 block of Scott Boulevard. Meanwhile, the little house on Fourth Street got a lot of attention earlier this year when its neighbor, Legacy Financial, eyed it for demolition to make way for more parking. Preservationists spoke out about the structure's impending demise but Legacy was granted approval from the City of Covington to move forward with its plans. But last week the building was spotted being power washed, a curious development for a building that was about to be torn down, and then this week ladders and contractors showed up busily working on the inside and outside. The most noticeable change so far is the temporary banner proclaiming the building to be the office of attorney Christopher Jackson.
|
"I saw that this was still available so I made some phone calls and the rest is history," Jackson said inside his law office's new home which is deeply into renovations. "It's in pretty rough shape and basically needs everything." Jackson is wasting no time. He has already had a new roof put on and installed five new HVAC systems and removed an "incredible" amount of mold, a process that took two to three weeks. "We're almost finished doing the demo and we're going to start putting her back together."
|
During the urban design review board hearings in which representatives of Legacy Financial and a real estate agent described the building as unsalvageable, preservationists were not convinced. Neither was Jackson. "I guess I'm a little crazy," he said. "The structure of the building is OK, it's just everything else." 
|
Everything else includes addressing some of the serious water damaged incurred since the metal roof appeared to be unattached to the structure, as well as tuck-pointing the bricks. Then the fun part begins. Jackson has little yellow posted notes all over the interior with instructions for paint colors and which items to remove and which to bring in. The Owensboro native and Fort Mitchell resident will move his seven employees into the new space as soon as the long road of work is complete. He has himself a nice corner office on the second floor with a direct view of the Covington and Cincinnati skylines.
|
Lots of historic character remains including several fireplaces but lots more will be fresh and new inside this building that dates back to around 1840 and may have been home to Covington's first mayor, Mortimer Benton. One other important piece of Northern Kentucky history may have transpired there as well. Jackson thinks the architecture firm that was based there in the 1960s may have drawn up the designs for Northern Kentucky University's campus on the second floor.
|
Covington historic preservation officer Beth Johnson is also pleased. "We are extremely happy that someone could come in and save this building and continue to use it for a positive within Covington," Johnson said. "They are going to be good neighbors to Roebling Point and will be investing more money into our community." 
|
The attorney will do more research on the property's history once he is settled into the building that once again has a future in Covington.  
|
NOTE: This story will be updated if it is learned why the Legacy Financial plans did not pan out.