One Company Moving In, Another Moving Next Door in Covington

Icon Marketing Communications is set to move from Fort Mitchell to Covington and one other company based in Covington is set to move to an adjacent building as part of a $5.5 million investment that is expected to bring around 50 jobs to the city.

Icon, a growing marketing and advertising firm currently operating on Grandview Drive in Ft. Mitchell, will take over the building currently occupied by ROAD iD, a maker of identification materials for cyclists and others.

ROAD iD, which renovated the building at 8th and Washington streets before moving in, will move into an adjacent building.

The site was previously home to H. Johnson Storage.

Icon will bring at least 36 jobs to Covington and add 10 more while investing $4.13 million in buying and renovating the building, which is also home to Libby's, a new restaurant, on the first floor. 

ROAD iD plans to invest $1.3 million in its new renovation of 20,000 square feet of space while adding five new employees.

"ROAD iD and Icon Marketing are vibrant companies that contribute a lot of talent and energy, and these new jobs and these investments match our targeted strategies," City of Covington Economic Development Director Tom West said. "This collaborative agreement has been a long time in the making with a lot of interactive parts, and we're thrilled to announce it. Officials from both companies have demonstrated a lot of flexibility and commitment."

Icon CEO Shawn Murdock said he hoped to move Icon to Covington by the end of January and said the projected employee growth was a conservative analysis.

"We believe we're going to blow that out of the water," said Murdock, who said he had been looking for a location in Covington for a while.

"The area's got such a dynamic, urban-core energy," he said. "It's just the best place to grow and attract the talent and clients we want. We couldn't be more excited about our future in this incredible space, and it's been a pleasure to work with City officials and ROAD iD throughout the process."

ROAD iD co-founder and CEO Edward Wimmer said his company planned to begin its renovation next month and move into its new headquarters in April. During any overlap, it would share space with Icon in the existing three-story building.

The vacant space it will renovate is spread out in three connected warehouse structures just south of the current three-story home, and was already on the market for leasing. About 8,000 square feet of space in a fifth building in the complex is already occupied.

ROAD iD houses all of its customer service, administrative and marketing operations in Covington, as well as its laser engraving and assembling operations.

Wimmer said the company saw the switch as an opportunity to show commitment to a "reciprocal relationship" with the city.

"It's not something we were anticipating doing but it is definitely something we are very energized about doing," Wimmer said.

"We're thoroughly excited for the folks at Icon and the City of Covington," he added. "Icon is not only gaining one of the coolest office spaces in the region but they are also joining an amazing and vibrant community. At the same time, I'm thrilled for the team at ROAD iD as this allows us to begin construction on another ambitious renovation project here in Covington."

As proposed, the City of Covington would offer payroll incentives for Icon that would last for five years with a commitment from the agency to stay at least another five years in Covington after the incentives run out. The agreement with ROAD iD would update a previous forgivable loan related to renovation and reset the clock on a previous payroll incentives agreement. It also carries a five-year commitment by the company beyond the incentives period.

The city commission is expected to vote on the deals in the coming weeks.

Covington City Manager David Johnston said the incentive deals would bring a positive return to the city.

"We've been saying for over a year that Covington plans to target jobs in its economic development efforts, and this is a big coup," Johnston said.

-Staff report