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Announcement Related to Newport's Ovation Project Expected Thursday

An announcement related to the massive Ovation project on Newport's riverfront is planned for Thursday.

Details about what may be announced were not provided.

It has been several months since any word on progress related to the long-dormant site owned by Covington-based Corporex.

In November, the Newport city commission approved an extension of the original tax increment finance (TIF) district by five years and Corporex managing director Tom Banta said with that, and the completion of the KY 9 expansion, that work will begin late in the first quarter or early in the second quarter of 2019.

"We're very excited. It's been a long road to get here," Banta said at the time.

Thursday's announcement would be within the timeline announced by Banta last fall.

The River City News reported last year that Corporex would front the project $70 million to get it started, meaning that the City of Newport would not need to issue bonds. Banta, at the time, said that it would be difficult to spur Ovation through bonds since the project was still mostly speculative.

However, Banta also said last November that plans then included 942 residential units, with a mix of rental and homes for purchase; 524 hotel rooms; 380,000 sq. ft. of retail, entertainment, and restaurant space; and one million square feet of office space.

4,395 direct jobs were estimated to originate from the project along with 3,800 indirect jobs. The construction work would attract 5,000 jobs, Banta said, according to the company's analysis. 

The 30-acre riverfront site, nestled at the confluence of the Ohio and Licking rivers, was announced more than a decade ago as a $1 billion project, but was long-stalled by the impact of the Great Recession.

-Michael Monks, editor & publisher