Photos: Inside Sweet New Apartments in Downtown Covington
For a long time, the building at the southeast corner of Madison Avenue and Fifth Street in downtown Covington was known as one of the city's Pieck Pharmacy locations. The family operated its drug business on the first floor and lived above in one unit and rented out the other. In later years, some would know the building as a Greyhound Bus station.
In recent years, the building was mostly vacant and its beautiful entrance had fallen into disrepair.
Now, however, the building has been injected with new life.
The first floor is now the slick new downtown home of a Forcht Bank branch. The upper floors are now two sleek new apartments.
The work by developer Tony Milburn (and his contractor Darren Spahr) will be shown off on Sunday, April 30 when Beyond the Curb, the self-guided urban-living tour produced by the Catalytic Fund, returns to Covington.
Restoring and rejuvenating the building was a long project. "The walls weren't here, the studs were but all the copper had been pulled out," said Milburn. But a great deal of the building was preserved. "Most of the trim, which is original, was in a bath tub stacked up, which is nice that they left it. The floors are original, the doors are original, most of the tile work is original."
The building was constructed in 1905 and much of the architecture - including the rounded turret that distinguishes its facade from its neighbors, offering residents a 270-degree view of Madison Avenue, Fifth Street, and the Covington skyline - is reminiscent of that era. But inside, beyond the restore original floors and tiles and doors, there are attractive and modern touches.
The kitchens and bathrooms will wow Beyond the Curb tour-goers and the apartments' splendid and unique urban view will offer an interesting perspective of a resurgent downtown. The surrounding block along Fifth Street has been a particular success story and Milburn has been a driving force in that effort, dating back to 2000 when he was part of the purchase of the landmark Odd Fellows Hall, which ultimately suffered a devastating fire before an extensive and impressive rebuild.
"Originally, when we purchased Odd Fellows, a liquor store was there, a pawn shop, a beer and shot joint, and a strip club," Milburn said. "So, just buying that, all that went away." The building is now home to an elegant events center and professional office space. Other dive bars have been booted from or opted to leave buildings now controlled by Milburn (or through partnerships with neighbors like the McMurtry family), and have been replaced by new and upscale nightspots like the Globe (whose patio will open soon), or refreshed commercial spaces with upper-floor residences.
More work is on the way, including Electric Alley, which intersects Fifth Street and runs parallel to Madison Avenue and Scott Boulevard, a creative placemaking project that includes underground utilities, lighting, and a more inviting public space. It is a City of Covington project with ties to Gateway Community & Technical College's urban metro campus. "We're excited about Electric Alley," Milburn said.
The new apartments at what is being dubbed Pieck Place will rent for $1,650 each.
For more information about Beyond the Curb and for ticket information, click here.
Written by Michael Monks, editor & publisher