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13 Mainstrasse Properties Sold to LLC Connected to Shelter

EXCLUSIVE

Thirteen properties in Covington's Mainstrasse Village were sold together in early February and are slated for redevelopment, The River City News has learned.

According to Kenton County property records, the properties closed on February 5 after they were purchased by a limited liability company known as Main Strasse Holding. Though no details were immediately available about who operates the LLC, The River City News has learned that it is affiliated with The Welcome House, the Covington-based non-profit that assists homeless families and individuals. 

Multiple calls to the shelter's executive director Thursday were not returned.

The LLC's initial registered office is 207 Thomas More Parkway in Crestview Hills, the location of the law offices of Dressman Benzinger LaVelle (DBL). According to documents filed with the Kentucky Secretary of State's office, the company's mailing address is 2170 Gilbert Avenue in Cincinnati which is where The Model Group is located. That firm is experienced in the development of market rate and affordable housing.

A call to The Model Group on Thursday was not returned.

The River City News contacted the Kentucky Housing Corporation in Frankfort and confirmed that Main Strasse Holding has applied for low income housing tax credits. "They are trying to access low income tax credits," said Anthony Wright, with the Kentucky Housing Corporation. "That is a tax credit sold to investors to generate equity for the project."

Wright said that an announcement about low income tax credit awards could be made as soon as Monday.

The properties acquired by Main Strasse Holding, LLC are spread out across the densely populated neighborhood that is one of the most popular destinations in Covington where bars, restaurants, and shops line the main streets. 

The properties (and their sale price) are: 414 West Sixth Street ($141,103), 728 Philadelphia Street ($188,137), 637 Main Street ($235,172), 807 Perry Street ($188,137), 815 Perry Street ($188,137), 831 Bakewell Street ($47,034), 812 Perry Street ($47,034), 801 Main Street ($329,241), 622 Main Street ($94,068), 315 West 7th Street ($188,137), 301 West 7th Street ($188,137), 257 West 7th Street ($188,137), 710-12-14 Greer Ave. ($705,517).

All of the properties were previously owned by Dudley Properties, a limited liability company operated by, among others, William T. Robinson IV. Many of the properties had consistent run-ins with the city's code enforcement board.

"Dudley had been before the code board on a regular basis," City Manager Larry Klein said. "They were being cited left and right, so I don't know if this was a decision to go out of business or not."

According to property records, most of the newly sold buildings were purchased by Dudley in 2007 for a blanket price of more than $1.8 million. Many of the properties have a long history of being connected to prominent local attorneys, including Phil Taliaferro who was the registered agent when some of them were under the LLCs Germantown Properties and Bismark Apartments beginning in 1980. 

Klein said that as he understood the plans, there would be a reduction in the number of units in these multi-family properties after they are renovated. "This is a similar program to the Scholar House that the city applied for," Klein said. 

The city manager expressed optimism about the possible redevelopment of the properties. "It sounds like if Model and the Welcome House are successful, they'll be bringing significant reinvestment in those properties and that neighborhood," he said, pointing out the St. Aloysius apartment building in the neighborhood was also a beneficiary of a low income housing tax credits and has been a successful development.

The Welcome House's 2013 annual report expressed an interest in acquiring and developing rental property but expressed the agency's concern over the housing market climate at the time.

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

Correction: A previous version of this story identified William T. Robinson IV as an attorney. He is the son of attorney William T. Robinson III. RCN regrets the error.