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It's Official: Covington Sells Buildings for Hotel Expansion, Distillery Experience

Demolition could begin as early as next week on the latest major developments in downtown Covington.

The City of Covington officially transferred ownership of two buildings on the 600 block of Madison Avenue at East Pike Street to the Salyers Group.

The city purchased the buildings last fall from the Kentucky Community & Technical College System, which owned the buildings in anticipation of use by Gateway Community & Technical College. While Gateway operated a student bookstore in one corner building, the historic YMCA building went unused and has been unoccupied since Commonwealth of Kentucky offices moved to Latonia.

The city made the purchase from KCTCS in anticipation of a quick sale to the Salyers Group and owned the pair of buildings for 91 days.

The Salyers Group plan a $22.5 million project which is expected to include around sixty upscale hotel rooms to be managed by adjacent Hotel Covington, which is also operated by the Salyers Group. Another announced component is a "bourbon distillery experience" and about 10,000 square feet of office space.

Guy van Rooyen, president of the Salyers Group, told city officials that internal demolition could start as early as Monday or Tuesday.

"It will be exciting to see activity in that building," van Rooyen said.

Van Rooyen joined Covington Mayor Joe Meyer, other city officials, and attorneys representing both sides in signing the documents and exchanging the keys related to the sale.

Covington fully recouped its costs associated with the purchase of the buildings and their maintenance over the past three months, Meyer said.

The renovation will include changes to the buildings' exteriors, including the removal of a new "face" added over the years.

"I'm waiting for that brick façade to come down, piece by piece," Meyer said.

Van Rooyen said more details of the project will be revealed in the near future. 

Meyer handed van Rooyen two enormous rings containing keys to an array of offices within the buildings.

"Here's to the continuation of a great relationship and the beginning of a great project," the mayor said.

-Staff report

Slideshow Images & Captions: 
Artist's rendering of forthcoming development at Pike & Madison in Covington (provided)