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$25 Million Boutique Hotel Development to Be Announced in Covington

UPDATE (1:30PM): 

The Salyers Group, most famous in Covington for being the family business behind Fabulous Bridal and Fabulous Furs, the Madison Events Center, and the Wedding Mall, are the people behind this new development in conjunction with the Aparium Hotel Group which is based in Chicago and is well known for its development of the Iron Horse Hotel in Downtown Milwaukee. A source close to the discussions confirmed with The River City News that the boutique hotel, dubbed the Hotel Covington, planned for the building where Covington City Hall is currently located and where Coppin's department store operated before that will likely need various tax incentives prior to its completion. Those will include tax incremental financing (TIF), federal, state, and local tax programs, as well as historic tax credits. The building was constructed in 1910.

The River City News has learned that at least one other site at one time considered for development was the Mutual Building across the street from the current City Hall. Developers chose the former Coppin's building ultimately for its connection to a parking garage. Additionally, the Madison Events Center across Seventh Street from the planned hotel is said to be directly responsible for more than a thousand hotel room bookings annually which is a solid starting point for the new property, according to City Commissioner Shawn Masters who commented on The River City News Facebook page.

City Commissioner Steve Frank also weighed in. "They plan to have a bar, a roof garden with views of the city, and one of the top two or three restaurants in the city," Frank said RCN's Facebook page. The River City News has also learned that the restaurant will likely go inside the structure adjacent to City Hall, known as the Wedding Mall. The developers also hope to establish the bar as a popular place for locals, The River City News has learned. 

According to its website, "Located in downtown Milwaukee, The Iron Horse Hotel is the industry’s first modern luxury boutique hotel geared toward business and leisure travelers along with the growing segment of motorcycle enthusiasts. The hotel is located blocks from the Frontier Airlines Convention Center and across the bridge from the Harley-Davidson Museum. The Iron Horse Hotel offers a blend of upscale business services and, unlike any other premium hotel in the country, special amenities for motorcycle enthusiasts." The Iron Horse features 100 over-sized loft guest rooms and was built inside a 100-year old timber warehouse.

As for new locations for City Hall and the state offices that operate there, new requests for proposals (RFPs) will be sent out. No locations for either have been confirmed.


The City of Covington will announce Thursday morning the development of a $25 million boutique hotel in the building that is currently used as City Hall. More details have not been released but after Tuesday night's City Commission meeting, the Mayor and Commissioners took an unusual step of going into executive session (usually executive sessions happen prior to the public portion of the meetings). Representatives from a company that has had a long history of Downtown Covington developments were seen going into the meeting with the commissioners.

Over the past eight weeks, after first learning of the possibility of a boutique hotel in Downtown Covington, RCN has pressed for more information but city leaders all expressed concern that the deal was in a fragile state and they wanted to be confident before any announcement was made. 

The $25 million development follows last Friday's news that Gateway Community & Technical College has purchased the former Marx Furniture building on Madison Avenue as the first serious redevelopment of a building for the purposes of a long-sought urban campus. For months, Mayor Chuck Scheper and the city commissioners have hinted at good news to be rolling out of City Hall and now it appears that that has begun, even involving the physical structure of City Hall itself.

This story will be updated.

PHOTO: The top of Covington City Hall/RCN file