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River City Living: Event Center with Apartment Above in Newport

The popular Beyond the Curb urban living tours that typically take place twice a year in Northern Kentucky's river cities, is virtual this year.

The Catalytic Fund, which produces the tours and aids in urban development projects, moved to a video tour series this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.


A street-level business with a residence above it is the focus of this week's Beyond the Curb: River City Living.

Mike Smith, the owner of Headquarters Historic Event Center in Newport, shares his story with viewers.

“It took three months of work with a hammer and chisel to expose the brick,” he said of the work on the first floor. He was going for a vintage urban vibe that would appeal to folks looking for an unusual place to have their parties, rehearsal dinners and weddings. 

Living above his business has been a positive experience for Smith. He enjoys his 30-second commute and values the proximity of all the bars, restaurants and stores on Monmouth Street. “I love the energy of this neighborhood,” he said.

Smith’s sprawling apartment has many elements that date back to the hardware store that occupied the building in 1870. In addition to the 150-year-old wood floors, sturdy beams embedded in the walls and a couple of skylights, there are also remnants of the old freight elevator. 

The décor in the apartment is a highly personal mix of clean-lined furnishings and eclectic salvaged finds, like a pot-bellied stove and a set of bleacher seats. Smith’s most recent project in his living space was the completion of a sound-proofed bonus room at the back of the building, which is where he and his fiancé hang out during loud parties at Headquarters.

Smith has become actively involved with such organizations as Newport Business Association and ReNewport because his experience has shown him that Newport is a great city for both his business and his home.

The new episode can be seen here.

New episodes of Beyond the Curb: River City Living are released on Fridays. Previous episodes can be viewed at

-Staff report