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Abandoned Bradford Building is Poised for Redevelopment, Architect Says

The Bradford Building sits in a state of neglect at the corner of Fourth Street & Scott Boulevard but it's in better shape than it looks, according to a Covington-based architect.

Adam Wisler spoke to Progress With Preservation during its monthly meeting this week. He told the group that he toured the building and is preparing a report on it as part of his graduate studies at the University of Cincinnati.

"It's really not in as bad of shape as everyone probably thinks. I've heard horror stories," Wisler said.

He noted that the large building is suffering from part of its roof falling in and a little bit of mold on the first floor in what used to be a strip club. There is water damage in some of the former residential units due to the partial roof collapse, but those are the only significant structural damages that Wisler found on two visits.

Various historic elements remain in tact. The entry atrium and stairwell are in "perfect condition". The exterior is still historically in tact, Wisler said.

The architect moved to Covington four years ago from Ashville, North Carolina. His studies include a certificate in historic preservation and he is one of the architects working on the renovation of the former Lincoln Grant School Building on Greenup Street that will soon be home to the residential-educational program called The Scholar House.

The Bradford Building will be his master's thesis project.

The building was named after Bradford Shinkle, Covington's wealthiest resident at the time of his death in 1909. He is the son of Amos Shinkle, the wealthy businessman and philanthropist who was instrumental in developing several lasting Covington projects, including the Roebling Suspension Bridge.

While there are no current plans on the table to redevelop the Bradford Building, it was purchased by Covington Square, LLC in 2005 and was targeted as part of a large-scale redevelopment of the Roebling Point area. The building is currently in foreclosure.

Wisler said that any potential developer could re-use the historic building as a mixed-use residential/office/retail site.

The Kenton County PVA lists the Bradford Building's taxable value at $730,000.

Quiet revitalization underway in area

Situated at a gateway into Downtown Covington for commuters crossing the Suspension Bridge or coming from the office towers on RiverCenter Boulevard, the Bradford Building is one of a handful of neglected buildings on the 300 and 400 blocks of Scott Boulevard.

The area is undergoing a quiet revitalization however. The Ice House was honored for its renovation and the same developer behind that project where the PPS Group is located, Alan Haenle, is working on a similar project across the street in a building he purchased from the city. The Covington Police Department will be based on the first floor. The upper floors will be used by PPS.

The brothers behind Dayton, Ky.-based Buona Vita opened a second location on the block. Gateway College has purchased the former Abode Furniture building and will house is spa & wellness center there. ArtWorks Cincinnati recently completed a series of murals on the Kerry Toyota building. 

The next block south, the Kenton Co. Public Library is nearing the end of its massive renovation.

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

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