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Kent Lofts Wins Approval to Begin Construction in Bellevue

This story has been updated with a correction noted at the bottom.

Construction can now begin on one of the largest-ever adaptive reuse projects in Northern Kentucky's urban core.

The City of Bellevue's planning and zoning commission gave the OK for the Kent Lofts to move forward.

The $10 million project by Covington-based Orleans Development will transform the historic Kent industrial warehouse on Grandview Avenue into more than five dozen upscale apartments.

Tony Kreutzjans, of Orleans, and his brother, Bil Kreutzjans, Jr., of Edgewood-based Ashley Commercial Group, are working on the project together. Orleans will develop and manage the property while Ashley oversees the construction. Demolition work will begin soon and the project will take more than a year to complete.

Though there were questions and some conditions placed on the approval, members of the planning & zoning commission were enthusiastic about the project.

"I believe it is correct to say this is the most important adaptive reuse project ever done in Campbell County," said board chair James Dady. "It will become a landmark in Bellevue."

The developers hope to build 66 units in the building, including a guest suite, but were approved only for 64. The commission held the developers to the standard created by the city's new T5.3 zone, which was developed specifically for this project to address parking concerns. The zoning stipulates that 70 residential units are permitted per one acre. The Kent Lofts building sits on 0.907 of an acre, which, rounding up, allows for 64 units.

The developers sought to include its off-site parking lot, dubbed "the annex" by Campbell County zoning administrator Cindy Minter, on Retreat Street, to make the entire development over an acre to allow for the proposed 66 units.

The commission did not allow it.

However, the commission recommended a text amendment to the zoning code to increase the number of units per acre from 70 to 75.The issue will be revisited by the planning & zoning commission at its next meeting.

In the meantime, the development can begin. The project meets the parking requirements with a total of 81 dedicated spaces, with most inside the building, and a smaller number on an adjacent surface lot on the property, and 14 more at the annex.

The development was also permitted to place its signage in a vertical manner, rather than horizontal as a throwback to the early days of the industrial site. It will read "Kent Lofts".

Dady said that the project is good for Bellevue because it will attract roughly a hundred new residents to a city that has lost 10 percent of its population since 2000 and 25 percent over the past forty years. "Our restaurant and leisure footprint in Bellevue will need to pick up to accommodate these people," Dady said, noting that the city is well-positioned to attract new residents because of "the prime mixture of urban, safe, and convenient."

"We know this project is a big lift for this old neighborhood and the core of Bellevue's old street grid," he said.

Now after nearly a year of discussions, ground will soon break.
When the Kent Lofts project is completed, the 1930s-era building, created as part of the Grote Manufacturing Company, will have studio units ranging from 575 to 983 sq. ft., loft units from 776 sq. ft. to 1,572 sq. ft., one-bedroom units from 662 to 897 sq. ft., and two-bredroom units from 1,025 to 1,162 sq. ft.

The entrance to the interior parking garage, which will have 56 spaces, will be on Grandview, and cars will exit on Lafayette Avenue. There will be 9 additional parking spots on the adjacent exterior lot and 14 in the annex on Retreat Street.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story referred to the new zone for the Kent Lofts as T3.5. It is T5.3. Additionally, it will be the planning & zoning commission that will further review the change in density, not the board of adjustment as previously reported.

Written by Michael Monks, editor & publisher

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