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Judge Sides with Covington on Bavarian Brewery Building Demolition

The Bavarian Brewry Building will stand.

A Kenton County Circuit Court judge upheld decisions by the City of Covington Board of Commissioners and the city's urban design review board (UDRB) that prevented Columbia-Sussex from tearing down the 19th century brewery building that it owns near Interstate 75 in the city's Westside neighborhood.

Columbia-Sussex, the hotel company based in Crestview Hills, had sought to raze the structure, arguing that the land is more valuable and marketable with the building gone. The company purchased the building in 2007 in hopes that Kentucky would enable casinos to operate in the state, but such legislation never came about. The building most recently was home to a Jillian's entertainment complex. 

In 2009, the City of Covington adopted a redevelopment plan for the surrounding area, including the building, and used that plan as evidence that the historic could not be torn down.

Judge Patricia Summe agreed this week when she issued her ruling.

"The decision of the board was well supported by substantial evidence before it, including the development plan, the full staff report, and statements from several members of the public opposing the demolition of the Bavarian Brewery buildings," Summe wrote in denying Columbia Sussex's motion to vacate the decisions. "The decision of the board is consistent with the development plan and other city ordinances and was made in conformance with state law and is not arbitrary or capricious."

It has been a long process. 

Timeline of events

Sept. 29, 2014: The River City News is first to report that Columbia Sussex is weighing the possibility of demolishing the building Story

Oct. 7, 2014: Petition launched to stop demolition of the brewery building Story

Oct. 29, 2014: Permission from the City of Covington officially sought by Columbia Sussex to tear down the building Story

Nov. 7, 2014: Pickets planned outside the Bavarian to raise awareness Story

Nov. 17, 2014: UDRB rejects Columbia Sussex's application to demolish the building Story

Jan. 13, 2015: Covington City Commission unanimously upholds the UDRB decision Story

July 1, 2015: Judge Gregory Bartlett hears the appeal in a Kenton County Circuit Courtroom Story
Later, Bartlett removed himself from the proceedings and Summe takes over, as The River City News reported in January. Late last year, students from Northern Kentucky University revealed some ideas for the site and surrounding area.
Covington City Solicitor Frank Warnock said that officials will meet internally and discussion the options and plans going forward. "I believe the City wants to work with and cooperate with the owner in a mutually beneficial manner but does not want the building to be demolished," Warnock wrote in an email to The River City News. "The owner has a large financial stake in the property and we understand and recognize that. The property is in a great location and has much potential for development."

-Michael Monks, editor & publisher

Photo: Bavarian Brewery Building (RCN file)