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PHOTOS: York Street Business Owners Talk About Thriving Newport

The Newport Business Association hosted a collection of York Street business owners at its meeting Wednesday evening to talk about how the area is growing and adapting into a thriving center for businesses. The meeting was held in the recently remodeled second floor of York St. Cafe and included tours of the third and fourth floors, which have been converted into two-bedroom penthouse-style apartments. 

The remodel of the second, third, and fourth floors was performed by Braylen Chandler, who said he initially toured the building to simply humor the real estate agent, then fell in love with the character of the building before deciding to buy it. The first floor of the building will continue to house York St. Cafe. 

"The thing is with these projects is that you're never finished," Chandler said. "They are almost like living, breathing organisms in their own right and they constantly need attention." 

Chandler said that part of the remodel included taking every piece of slate off the roof, repairing what was underneath, then putting every piece back. He also learned how to repair the historic wood windows of another property and utilized those skills for this project. 

He also said he doesn't know what the final second floor of the building will look like, but is open to keeping it as an event space. 

The fourth floor apartment is currently leased, and the third floor - which features a sliding peephole that was left over from its days as a mob-operated casino and has historic paint from paintings the mob had done in the space - was recently listed. Rent is expected to be $2,500 per month.

Another York Street business owner, Renee Schuler, of Eat Well Celebration and Feast at 518 York St., said that she loves the area for its beautiful trees, spacious feel, and parking. 

"I used to live in New York and I like to say that Covington is Brooklyn and Newport is Queens," Schuler said with a chuckle. 

Eat Well was previously located on Monmouth St., but Schuler decided to move out of that lease and purchase property that had a larger kitchen in May of 2020. 

Ron and Monica Pies, who own Studio 821 on York Street, also appreciate Newport, and Ron says he sees the city moving into a more creative-centric city. 

"The area is definitely up-and-coming," Ron said. "Covington is becoming more known for tech, while a bunch of creative and marketing firms are moving into Newport." 

Studio 821 offers creative studios to photographers, videographers, and corporate clients located at 821 York Street. 

Ron said that he is excited about seeing all of the dumpsters and scaffolding in Newport because they are signs of revitalization. 

"There is certainly a new energy," he said. 

Historic paint intentionally left on the floors

Master bedroom

Master bathroom

Master bathroom from bedroom

Living area

Guest bathroom

Second-floor event space

-Connor Wall, associate editor

Top photo: The event space on the second floor of the York St. Cafe