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Kenton's Move to the Bavarian: What It May Cost

The effort to move the Kenton County government to the site of the historic Bavarian Brewery Building, known for the time it spent earlier this century as Jillian's nightclub, could be a nearly $35 million project.

It would not be less than $32 million, consultants told the Kenton County Fiscal Court during a caucus meeting on Wednesday.

Representatives of Parsons Brienckerhoff, the firm tasked with managing the project and exploring estimated costs associated with three different options for the site, gave their report at what they referred pre-qualifications meeting.

The reasons that the county purchased the brewery site was made clear at the beginning.

"This particular facility," said Jennifer Lemasters-Wirtz, an architect with Parsons Brienckerhoff, referencing the 49-year old Kenton County Administration Building in which the meeting took place, "is 40 percent utilized. It is very difficult for the public to access." She said that before a meeting earlier in the day, some attendees had a hard time getting to the building or finding parking. "It's sitting on an island here."

The tower, built in 1969, was made mostly vacant by the departure of the Kenton County Detention Center for a new facility in South Covington. The county owns it outright, but costs to renovate and maintain the building were not as attractive to county leaders as the $4.5 million purchase of the Bavarian, which was at the center of a legal battle between its previous owner, Columbia-Sussex, and the City of Covington over whether the Crestview Hills-based hotel developer could tear it down.

Preservationists applauded the decision, but the historic structure could still be torn down.

SEE INSIDE THE ABANDONED BAVARIAN BREWERY! Click here for The River City News photo tour!

One of the options explored by Parsons Brienckerhoff was the full removal of all the remaining buildings. In that instance, a new structure would be built, something like a 3-floor building at an estimated cost of $34.7 million.

It was the most expensive option explored.

One scenario leaves all the Bavarian buildings in place, the least expensive option at an estimated cost of $32 million. Leaving the tower building, the more recognizable piece of the structure because of its castle-like features and high exposure to Interstate 75, but building a new addition was estimated at a cost of $33.4 million.

There have been discussions, though nothing official, about other county agencies joining the Fiscal Court, Sheriff's Department, County Clerk, Commonwealth's Attorney, County Attorney, and others at the Bavarian. Some possible targets, for example, could be the Northern Kentucky Health Department and Planning & Development Services of Kenton County. 

Upcoming dates of importance include a public meeting at the Edgewood Senior Center on Thursday, January 26, and the January 31 due date for "statements of qualifications" for the work on the Bavarian. A short list will be announced on February 10, and then a request for design-build proposals will be issued on February 22 - by then county officials must have decided which option to go with. Proposals will be due May 31. 

Construction would take place from the summer of this year through 2018 with a projected move-in date in 2019.

No plans have been made officially about the future of the current Kenton County Administration Building.

-Michael Monks, editor & publisher