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Three Covington, Newport Buildings Receive Duke Revitalization Funds

Three buildings in Covington and Newport received funding from Duke Energy Urban Revitalization grants.

Duke Energy announced on Tuesday more than $200,000 in such grants for seven projects across Northern Kentucky and Greater Cincinnati. The utility has awarded $2.4 million in grant funds for similar projects since 2011.

Tuesday's announcement took place at Road ID in downtown Covington. That company was awarded a Duke grant in 2017.

“Road iD shows how investing in our urban cores makes such a positive impact on people and communities,” said Amy Spiller, president of Duke Energy Ohio and Kentucky. “We are proud of the Road iD success story and committed to spurring additional redevelopment and job growth in our communities through our Urban Revitalization program.”


Duke Energy’s Urban Revitalization program was launched in 2011, following the Great Recession.

“We recognized the economy was still feeble and communities were continuing to struggle,” said Spiller. “As we spoke to community groups and studied the landscape, we repeatedly found individuals and organizations that wanted to make or facilitate investments in the region’s urban cores but lacked the financial resources to jump-start their projects.” 

The grants helped projects that struggled to get off the ground due to small but critical upfront costs.

“The Urban Revitalization grants are catalysts,” said Spiller. “They help individuals and groups overcome major obstacles. And, once projects are complete, neighboring properties become prime prospects for their own redevelopment.

“It’s a win for the projects, a win for the urban cores and a win for our communities."

All Northern Kentucky projects were awarded through the Catalytic Fund.

Northern Kentucky projects

Awarded: $35,000 for Molly Malone's annex in Covington

The popular Irish pub and restaurant on Fourth Street opened in 2007 and is now working to expand into an adjacent 6,000-sq. ft. building with an innovative specialty cocktail tasting lounge and event space.

Molly Malone's had previously explored expansion options at this site in 2016, as reported then by The River City News.

The space has been vacant for about twelve years. Construction is expected to be completed in late 2020.


Awarded: $35,000 for 700 Monmouth St. 

Jason Reser, who owns and operates Reser Bicycle Outfitters and Trailhead Coffee, is working with the Catalytic Fund to revitalize a building across the street.

He hopes to turn 700 Monmouth Street into residential and commercial spaces.

The circa-1865 building has been home to an ammunition shop and sewing and vacuum store in the past. The Duke grant will help restore the building's facade and turn the 1,300-sq. ft. interior commercial and four residential spaces to move-in ready.

Awarded: $40,000 for former Westside Cafe on 11th Street in Newport

The circa-1899 building was constructed as a railroad hotel to support Newport's steel industry. Most recently it was home to Westside Cafe, which closed this year.

The three-story building is now vacant.

Fedders Construction, which recently moved into the former Green Line Car Barn across the street, is partnering with the Catalytic Fund on the project to redevelop the first-floor restaurant space and to create apartment and office opportunities on the upper floors.

The funds will be used for architectural and engineering work.

-Michael Monks, editor & publisher

Top photo: Future site of expansion of Molly Malone's (RCN file)

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