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Ribbon Cut on New Apartment Building in Newport

The Academy on 4th was celebrated with a ribbon-cutting on Wednesday afternoon in Newport.

City officials and CRG Residential opened the $37 million, 202-unit apartment building on the former site of Fourth Street Elementary School, which was razed.

"This building is absolutely gorgeous," said Newport Mayor Jerry Peluso. "We thank and welcome CRG Residential and all of the new Newport residents who are now living in the Academy on 4th."This project is yet another example of the investment, economic development and new residents is are coming to our great city." 

The project started in 2015 and adds more residential units in Newport's downtown.

"The name Academy on 4th is a nod to the academic nature of this property for the Newport community," said CRG Vice President of Development David George. "With 202 residential units and 3,000 SF of retail space, the mixed-use development is centered around a courtyard that includes a resort-style pool and an outdoor kitchen. The interior includes a 206-space parking garage, an amenity center, building offices, and an electronic parcel delivery system." 

City Manager Tom Fromme said that the Academy on 4th will join a growing residential boom that includes the construction of more than 700 apartments in the city’s downtown.

“A vibrant downtown neighborhood depends on people living in the urban core,” Fromme said. “The spectacular Academy on 4th brings new resident, investment, attention and excitement to Newport and continues the amazing transformation of our city into one of the best places in Greater Cincinnati, Kentucky and the entire Midwest to live, work, visit and call home.”

CRG is now beginning on the second phase of the project, a rehabilitation of the nearby historic Southgate Street School, which until the mid-1950s served African American students and is now the Newport History Museum. 

According to Mayor Peluso, the Newport Academy opened on the site in 1799 and was one of the earliest schools west of Pittsburgh. The school, also known as the Newport Seminary, operated until 1850 when a new public school was built on the site. In the 1930s, Fourth Street Elementary was built as part of the Works Progress Administration, or WPA. 

Before demolishing the building, CRG donated many of the materials that were inside the school to local charities and worked with the city to preserve portions of an historic stone wall that was part of Fourth Street Elementary. The wall was used to build a fireplace in the building's courtyard. 

Deli boards were made out of the school's chalkboards. Newport Historic Preservation Officer Scott Clark presented boards to the developers, who also received a key to the city from Mayor Peluso and the Newport Board of Commissioners.  

Other organizations and individuals involved in supporting the project include the City of Newport Board of Commissioners, the Newport Independent Schools Board of Education, The Catalytic Development Funding Corp. of Northern Kentucky and Southbank Partners. 

-Staff report