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Construction to Begin on Transformation of Historic Covington Building

Construction will soon begin on the transformation of the historic Hellman Lumber Building on Martin Luther King Boulevard.
The Center for Great Neighborhoods is hosting a special groundbreaking event to celebrate the occasion with a cutting of the first piece of lumber to be reinstalled in the building. The celebration is scheduled for Thursday, September 17, from 4 - 6 p.m. The Center will also reveal its new branding at the event.
The Hellmann project converts the 13,800-square feet former Hellmann Lumber Mill into The Center’s new headquarters, community meeting and event space, and leasable artist studios. The former Mill has been vacant since 2005 and was preserved by the Commonwealth of Kentucky during the widening of State Route 1120 (MLK). The $2.2 million development allows The Center to have presence on a major commercial corridor and be more accessible and visible for all of Covington.
Earlier this year, the Hellmann Building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Since 1976, The Center has been strengthening Covington neighborhoods through innovative programs in the areas of creative placemaking, community organizing, leadership development, housing development, youth engagement, and financial education. The Center equips residents with the tools to discover and develop their capacities, gain access to resources, and actively contribute to positive community development that advances the well-being of the entire neighborhood. 
The Center hired Covington-based Hub & Weber, PLC, to serve as architects for the project. Via the Midwest Nonprofit Lenders Alliance, IFF is providing a $1.75 million loan with the Cincinnati Development Fund to help the Center restore the mill building. The Center applied for federal historic status for the circa-1880 building as well as federal and state tax credit equity. Heritage Bank, with assistance from HOPE of Kentucky, LLC, is purchasing the federal historic tax credits. Century Construction will serve as general contractor for the redevelopment. 
The Center received a $1.5 million multi-year grant as part of The Kresge Foundation’s creative placemaking initiative, $500,000 of which was designated for Hellmann. The Kresge Foundation is a private philanthropic foundation that promotes human progress by supporting endeavors in community development, education, environment, health, the arts and culture, and human services. The Center is using Kresge funds to integrate arts and culture into neighborhood revitalization activities. The Center also received significant grants for the Hellmann Creative Center from local foundations, including The Carol Ann and Ralph V. Haile, Jr./U.S. Bank Foundation, Mayerson Foundation, Greater Cincinnati Foundation, and Duke Energy Urban Revitalization Initiative.
The Hubert Family Foundation is providing a bridge loan as several other grants are still pending.  
As The Center anticipates a move to Hellmann, the organization hired Covington-based BLDG to design new branding. BLDG is a creative refuge that fosters the inspirational, the visionary, and the uncommon; BLDG is where copious creatives challenge the norm, stand on the ceiling, change what's possible. The Center’s new branding will allow staff and community partners to better describe the organization’s mission for community change. The branding was funded by The Kresge Foundation and Local Initiatives Support Corporation of Greater Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky (LISC).
-Staff report