Love The Cov Mural to Make Way for Brewery's Garage Door
One of the city's newest and largest murals may not be long for this world, but if the purpose of prominent wall art is to attract life and development to the city center, then a short time the Love The Cov piece did its job.
Love The Cov was painted on the western-facing wall of 25-29 West Seventh Street, home of Covington Arts, during Art Off Pike last September.
Then in April came the news that Braxton Brewery was going to place its ambitious operation inside the building, occupying 11,000 square feet as the first free-standing micro-brewery in Northern Kentucky. MKSK Architects would sell the building and move upstairs where it would lease newly renovated space while Covington Arts would move on to a new home.
The new owners of the building appeared before the City of Covington's urban design review board on Monday where it won approval to place a garage door and new windows on the wall where Love The Cov was painted.
Real estate broker Josh Niederhelman represented the new buyers who were identified. When asked by members of the board about the future of the mural, an art project spearheaded by Pike Street creative firm BLDG, Niederhelman said the new owners were open to possibilities. "I'm not sure about BLDG and their specific involvement but the plan at this point is to maintain the existing paintings on the building," he said. "As far as replacing them exactly, I don't know what the process is. I think at this point it's a matter of cost."
The garage door and a new, separate door would cut into the Love The Cov message, but by accommodating the development of a new brewery, reflects that message in a new, more economically beneficial way. When Covington Arts announced that it would be vacating the building, it said at the time that the brewery's impending arrival was proof that the arts work to attract development. "One of the initial goals of the Covington Arts initiative was to establish an attractive venue to catalyze economic development," said Covington Arts Manager Cate Becker at the time. "After eight years, the foresight of creating a venue driven by creativity and community has paid off with an exciting opportunity for the second and first floor development of the building on Seventh Street."
Rendering of plans for Braxton's garage entrance/provided
The UDRB unanimously approved the requests though a contingency was placed mandating that the doors be painted beige to blend in with the wall's existing color. The request had previously been for white doors.
The building has a long history of being part of the center of Downtown Covington activity. It was built in 1937 by the Albers Supermarket chain based in Cincinnati. A bowling alley was on the second floor and Sears operated next door. According to Covington Historic Preservation Officer Beth Johnson, the National Register nomination form for the building noted that Albers advertised its Eighth Street parking lot as proudly as it did its groceries. Placing the garage door in the rear of the building where that parking lot is was not possible, Niederhelman said, because of existing utility lines and the grade of the ground.
"The painting itself is not going to be disturbed except where the doors and windows go," Niederhelman said. "There is no plan in place to replace the existing or to paint a new mural on the side. I know there have been some complaints about the paint chipping and peeling off the top. Future tenants may work with arts groups for future paintings."
Written by Michael Monks, editor & publisher of The River City News
Top photo: Love The Cov mural/RCN file