New Business at Levee, Developments at Music Venue Announced
Developments at Newport on the Levee and PromoWest Pavilion at Ovation, the new riverfront music venue, were discussed Wednesday morning in a virtual meeting of the Newport Business Association.
The meeting preceded the official announcement of multiple new tenants arriving at the Levee.
Levee General Manager Justin Otto joined Eric Buck, senior development associate at Corporex, which is developing Ovation, were the guests.
Otto said that he expects many of the new developments at the Levee to open Memorial Day weekend. The Levee is still undergoing a $100 million redevelopment following its $100 million purchase by Cincinnati-based North American Properties Group.
Some of the features include a new entrance to the parking garage from the valet circle, new bars and restaurants, new LED lights around the levee's main building, a new more dynamic sound system, and general renovations designed to make the space brighter and more open.
"When North American Properties acquired the property, they really wanted to improve - and had at the top of their list in making the asset better - access to the garage, connecting to neighbors and community better, and activating the property," Otto said. "There's no way this project would've ever been possible without the support of Newport and Campbell County."
Otto also drew attention to a large new LED screen that has already been installed above Sweet Dreams, a candy shop near Newport Aquarium. The screen was installed in preparation of the levee's derby party that will take place this weekend. He also mentioned another LED screen that will be installed to give visitors a screen-experience despite inclement or uncomfortable weather.
Otto expressed gratitude towards the support he has noticed throughout the community, and seemed particularly thankful towards the Ovation Pavilion - which is expected to complete phase one of its development soon.
"You can build a Newport on the Levee anywhere," Otto said. "But what's really hard to build is an Ohio river, a Purple People Bridge, a Cincinnati skyline, and a partner like Ovation."
Meanwhile, North American Properties Group announced five new additions to the food and beverage line-up at the Levee.
Beeline, a full-scale cocktail bar with an expansive outdoor patio will open this fall, brought to the city by local entertainment group 4EG which operates a similar concept in Columbus, Oh.
Next month, four new local vendors will open at the Bridgeview Box Park, the Levee’s shipping container park.
Beeline will occupy a 2,800-square-foot space at the Levee featuring garage door-style doors that open to reveal views of the Ohio River and Cincinnati skyline.
Named after the railway that once connected Columbus and Cincinnati, Beeline will bring a wide selection of beer, wine and craft cocktails to the Levee. Beeline’s first location opened in Columbus last year,
Next month, 4EG will debut the Buzz, a sister concept to Beeline, at the Levee’s open-air Bridgeview Box Park, serving up a variety of craft cocktails and frozen drinks.
“There’s an incredible excitement in the community around the redevelopment of the Levee and we’re ecstatic to have the opportunity to bring Beeline to a new market and introduce The Buzz,” said Bob Deck, managing partner for 4EG. “We’re dedicated to providing superior hospitality and enjoyable experiences for our guests, and we’re looking forward to countless nights of cocktails, companionship and community at the Levee.”
Other new additions set to open at the box park next month include:
West Sixth Brewing, a Kentucky-based craft brewery with locations in Lexington, Louisville, and Frankfort. West Sixth will bring its signature craft brews and community taproom experience to the colorful box park.
Blackmarket Saloon, a local, friends and family-owned business offering spiked lemonades in many unique flavors as well as specialty cocktails. Alongside the beverages, they will also be serving Chuy's chips and salsas. Blackmarket Saloon is the big sister concept to Farmhouse Lemonade and Farmhouse Goods Co., which first debuted at The Box Park and The Exchange Market at the Levee last year.
CrepeGuys, a father-son duo that originally introduced the concept in France in 1999 and is on a mission to become Europe’s first internationally known crepes restaurant will introduce a menu filled with 40 handmade, savory and dessert crepes as well as cold brew and nitro cold brew coffee.
Kon-Tiki, the tiki-bar inspired concept serving up classic and tropical cocktails with unique spirits and flavors from around the world, will stay open at the box park.
“As the redevelopment of the Levee nears completion, we’re excited to introduce four concepts that perfectly align with our vision for the new Newport, bringing an undeniable energy to the street-level experience,” said Regan Noppenberger, leasing representative for NAP. “Beeline is a fantastic complement to the Levee’s activated public realm and entertainment mix, and we know the community will love sipping craft cocktails and enjoying local fare from the box park – all while taking in the breathtaking views of the river.”
Ongoing renovations to the Gallery Building include transforming the space into a weather-proof gathering locale for the community. The new structure connecting the eastside of the building with the Purple People Bridge will open to the public in May, while the westside of the building has been replaced with a striking, all-glass wall to flood natural light into the space.
Recent redevelopment milestones at the Levee include construction of a 3rd Street parking garage entrance, upgrades to the valet loop, fresh exterior paint, new signage and lighting, and enhancements to the Plaza. These upgrades have been transformative in creating activated spaces that make the Levee a true gathering place for the community, as well as improving connectivity and the pedestrian experience on property.
Meanwhile, at the Ovation site, the $40 million music venue hopes to host its first concert in September and is expected to attract approximately 350,000 to 400,000 visitors to its planned 180 annual events. Moreover, it has indoor or outdoor capabilities and can accommodate 2,700 people for indoor shows and 7,000 for outdoor performances.
Eric Buck spoke about the design of the Pavilion stating that it will have real grass growing on top of the parking garage for attendees to sit on, ample space for individuals to queue for the predominantly first-come-first-serve-seating, and what he described as a circle of life design, which allows attendees to visit either the venue's main bar next to the stage or one of two satellite bars towards the back of the seating area quickly and efficiently.
Buck also talked about a new hotel and office building that will be constructed along the south side of the Pavilion, stating that the buildings' footprints are there and he expects to start construction in the next couple of weeks and having significant construction done this summer.
Buck also presented footage of two cranes installing the pedestrian bridge that connects to the project over Route 8.
"This bridge is definitely a big milestone for us," Buck said. "This pedestrian bridge is what will connect phase I of Ovation to phase II."
Corporex's phase II of the development will consist of 120 condos/apartments, retail space, and restaurants along the confluence of the Ohio and Licking rivers. Buck emphasized the walkability of the overall project by stating that residents of the building will be able to walk out their front door and directly to the river, a show at the pavilion, or the levee. He also said that Corporex is working towards a solution to the Fourth Street Bridge to make it more pedestrian friendly.
"Getting people from Covington to Newport, and from Newport to Covington is so important," Buck said. "It's so important to both communities that the bridge gets replaced, not just for vehicle traffic, but also pedestrian traffic."
President of the Newport Business Association Mark Ramler said that he is thrilled to see all the development happening in Newport, adding that the rising tides lift all ships.
-Connor Wall, associate editor