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Ground Breaks on Newport Music Venue at Ovation Site

Work has officially begun on construction of a new $40 million music venue in Newport at the Ovation site near the riverfront.

Covington-based Corporex, which owns Ovation, and AEF Presents/PromoWest announced in May plans for the indoor/outdoor music venue that is expected to attracted 350,000 to 400,000 fans each year.

The Ovation site had been completely empty, save for a billboard announcing its existence, since around 2007.

With movement on the new music venue, more developments on the site are expected. The development price tag was originally set to be around $1 billion overall.

The music venue landed in Newport after officials in Cincinnati passed on PromoWest for a similar project at that city's riverfront Banks development, opting instead for a partnership with a subsidiary of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra.

In Newport, site work is underway with work crews working on the removal of existing parking lots, which will be followed by site grading.

Deep drilling into the foundations is expected to start in early August.

Concerts could be hosted on the site by the end of 2020, a news release said. It is expected to host 180 events a year and seats up to 2,700 inside, and up to 7,000 outside.

A 550-car structured parking garage is the first phase of the project at the 25-acre Ovation site.

“We are doing a staged design, permit, and construction process that will allow us to fast track the project to completion," said Tom Banta, managing director of Corporex Companies, LLC. "The City of Newport has been great to work with and the entitlement and approval process has been very smooth."

“Since our announcement in May, things have moved at an expeditious pace. The design for the facility has been completed and Corporex has received all its required approvals to build the facility,” said Scott Stienecker, CEO of PromoWest and regional vice president for AEG Worldwide.  “The regional excitement around this project has been outstanding.” Stienecker added, “We’ve been actively meeting with Cincinnati’s music and business leaders to explore local partnerships and ways we can support the community at-large; and with our ownership through AEG Worldwide, we intend to bring Cincinnati the #1 indoor/outdoor music facility in the country.”

-Michael Monks, editor & publisher