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Start-Up Incubator Moving from Newport to Covington?

An item on the agenda for next Tuesday's Covington City Commission offers a clear hint that start-up incubator UpTech may be moving from its temporary home in Newport to something more permanent in Covington, a coup for the city's emerging Pike Street.

According to the agenda item, the City of Covington would enter into a lease agreement at 112 West Pike Street with Pike Star, LLC, a company led by developer Tony Kreutzjans who has rehabbed multiple buildings in that area and is currently creating the Market Lofts up the street. From there, the City would sub-lease the space to UpTech.

Covington's Business Development Manager Naashom Marx says the deal is not final and that UpTech has a few options but this places the city in a position to compete for the start-up incubator's home.

"We're showing them that we are serious and we would love to have them." Marx said. "It's brining forty-plus businesses and jobs over the course of five years. It would be a great addition when it comes to bioLOGIC, the eZone, and everything going on with Gateway. Could you get better synergy?"

The River City News attended UpTech's most recent happy hour a couple weeks ago at the BLDG on Pike Street and pressed representatives for information about the rumored move but they were all tight-lipped. The organization's newsletter was sent out Friday and hinted that "big news" would be announced in July with UpTech's second class of start-ups.

Annopunced with much fanfare, UpTech is described on its website as:

At the intersection of talent, money, and ideas lies the ecosystem that UpTech is catalyzing—our new Northern Kentucky economy. UpTech is creating a culture that fosters entrepreneurship, company creation, innovation, and education.

We are confident that entrepreneurs will quickly come to understand that the talent base, financial support, urban ambiance, and reasonable cost of living found in the Northern Kentucky/Greater Cincinnati area make it an excellent place to start and grow a business.

UpTech is a five-year program that will boast five rounds, or classes, in each program with approximately 10 startups per year. UpTech I was held in 2012, and we opened our inaugural class with eight companies. UpTech II will commence in mid-2013.

UpTech's next class is to start in September so they need a space that is ready to be developed and 112 West Pike is bare and ready for construction. Marx said that UpTech is actively seeking a spot in an urban center but has been recruited by suburban institutions as large and important as CVG Airport.

This story may be updated.

Written by Michael Monks, editor & publisher of The River City News

Photo: 112 West Pike is directly to the right of the Tanino's building seen in this picture/RCN