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Pike Street Building to Become Residential

A long vacant building at the triangular intersection of Pike & Eighth Streets will become home to fifteen apartments. Covington developer Tony Kreutzjans won approval for the project at  the city commission Tuesday night and the board of adjustments Wednesday. Kreutzjans's Orleans Development has renovated several properties across the city including a former vacant shell at the corner of Ninth & Main Streets that won a preservation award earlier this year. Kreutzjans and partner Mark Tischbein also own and manage the Pulse Lofts on Banklick Street directly behind the new development.

"I'm sure I'll rent them up in two months," Kreutzjans said of the new property that will feature open, urban loft-style units. He plans to start work in early February.

The Covington City Commission approved a revocable license on Tuesday for the project that will allow Kreutzjans, operating as East Row Lofts, LLC, to restrict parking in the city-owned lot in exchange for agreeing to maintain it and to grant the city an easement on the Eighth Street side of the property to install a new sidewalk and trees. Access to the lot from the Pike Street side will be removed by the city and the sidewalk will be extended with new landscaping and ornamental fencing.

"It's something we hear a lot from the residents, that they don't have a way to walk in the area," said Covington project development manager Mike Yeager. The city-owned parking lot in front of 203-211 West Pike Street is currently accessible to workers and residents in the area from both Eighth and Pike Streets and there is not sidewalk on the Eighth Street side. 

"This is a property we've been trying to improve for years," said City Commissioner Sherry Carran. "That sidewalk on Eighth, people can't walk it and the Pike Street side is not handicap accessible." Kreutzjans thinks he will be able to produce thirteen private parking spaces on the property while five or six more on-street parking spots will be created to offset the spots lost in the reconstruction. Those new spots on the street will likely be metered, Yeager said. For additional parking, Kreutzjans will likely offer space in the Pulse Lofts lot.

"It's inefficiently designed as far as the amount of parking spaces you can get out of it," Kreutzjans said. He does not expect more demand for the spots than there should be after he rents the one bedroom and stuido units. "These would be young professionals who drive to work during the day so it wouldn't add to the burden."

The new parking lot will also create a buffer between the street and the first-floor units which will replace the retail spaces, though part of the agreement with the city is that those retail spaces could be converted back if demand for new business increases in the area. That is something one property owner across the street believes could happen. "I'm really excited about this. This area has so much potential," said Casey Luttrull, who recently sold Remedy Technologies which operates across the street from the planned apartments. "There's been a lot of vacancies there and I think this could be a big help."

The immediate block surrounding the project has seen businesses come and go including multiple variations on a coffee shop, a bakery, and the Red Ear Brewing Company which have all left. The project is not without concern from other neighbors, however. Sam Droganes, who owns the fireworks company next door, and Janet Droganes, who lives above it, will be meeting with Kreutzjans Friday to work out concerns over parking and window locations.

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