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Piazza at RiverCenter: Covington Office Plaza May Become Entertainment District

There has been quite a different story on RiverCenter Boulevard since the devastating blow in 2011 when Omnicare and The Nielsen Company, two of Covington's largest employers, moved their offices from RiverCenter and Madison Place to downtown Cincinnati, lured mere feet away by tax incentives, and blowing a hole in the budget of Northern Kentucky's largest city.

But, just as downtown Covington managed to lay the groundwork during the Great Recession for a surprising renaissance in recent years, so too has RiverCenter started to change its narrative.

That's due in large part by its original developer, Corporex, taking charge of its plaza level storefronts where three new restaurants are now open, and also to the companies like TiER1 and CTI Clinical Trial and Consulting Services redefining what the office spaces can look like. The building's gym has been renovated with a new health cafe added next to it, and the Metropolitan Club on the top floor is also seeing improvements and new members join.

Now comes more life for the plaza level.

The Covington city commission listened to a presentation at its caucus meeting on Tuesday night about the proposed creation of Piazza at RiverCenter. 

Corporex's subsidiary, RiverCenter Entertainment Ventures, LLC, which operates the new FIRE, Butler's Pantry, and Biscuits to Burgers - with the promise of more eating options to come, will apply to the Commonwealth of Kentucky's Alcoholic Beverage Control board for an entertainment destination center (EDC) designation. That would allow for customers to move freely between the businesses along the plaza, while consuming alcoholic beverages.

Currently, there are only three such places with that designation in all of Kentucky: Newport on the Levee, Fourth Street Live in Louisville, and the Summit at Fritz Farm in Lexington.

At the city level, the commission would need to adopt an ordinance designating the boundaries of the EDC and concluding that it would be economically beneficial.

In a document presented to the city commission, Piazza at RiverCenter describes itself as "an urban and open-air plaza in NoCo (northern Covington)" where people will see "what's new and trendy". "Mixologists and chefs" will be among the folks standing "shoulder-to-shoulder" with "artists and performers" where "light shows, concerts, and art performance" will take place.

-Michael Monks, editor & publisher

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