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Monday, March 5, 2012


by Michael Monks 
One of the three proposals received by the City of Covington after requesting plans to redevelop the city's riverfront has been rescinded. The Boca Group is taking back its so-called "Sail Project" and reworking its second proposal, "The Kentucky Queen" to incorporate elements of the Sail. “Boca has indicated they will be giving us a revised proposal for The Kentucky Queen Project as soon as they can,” Community Development Director Jackson Kinney said.
Though Covington's riverfront is arguably one of the most prime pieces of real estate in the region, the city only received three proposals for redevelopment: two from Boca and one from Corporex and restaurateur Jeff Ruby which offered two phases of construction, the first emphasizing the reopening of Ruby's Waterfront restaurant.
The following is part of a press release issued by City Hall:
The Corporex/Ruby Phase II Project is proposed to be implemented at a future point based on
the availability of funding, with project activities to include riverfront landscaping and improvements, a floating boardwalk, marina and wharf, and a water-based restaurant and/or
other attraction in a second mooring east of The Waterfront Restaurant. The Kentucky Queen Project is to entail a hotel, conference center, night club, and dinner  playhouse. According to Boca, The Kentucky Queen project would involve a historically themed hotel, conference, and entertainment center inspired by the area’s past of famous riverboats. The proposed land based development would feature a large river facing and live music oriented nightclub and New Orleans influenced restaurant. 

Boca is proposing The Kentucky Queen project be built generally on top of and on the south side  of the earthen levee west of Madison Place and north of Rivercenter Boulevard, with a lower level parking garage. The proposal also involves a 600 seat dinner theater on the south side of Rivercenter Boulevard, which would fall in the current IRS property. At the present time the City has no adopted Redevelopment Plan relating to the IRS property, although in 2011 the City did submit a Letter of Intent to work with the General Services Administration/IRS in planning for the possible relocation of the IRS facility in this general area. No timetable has been agreed to between the City and GSA/IRS on this planning work and potential redevelopment project.
The original Sail Project included a proposal for 136 apartments that would have been part of
that mixed-use development. Kinney indicates it is unclear how many apartments will now be
part of the revised proposal for The Kentucky Queen Project. “Obviously we are looking forward
to receiving Boca’s revised proposal,” Kinney stated.
According to Kinney, Boca informed him that they rescinded the proposal for The Sail Project,
given concerns relating to possible physical limitations of the Overlook site and the potentially
higher development costs associated with such limitations. The limitations relate to the fact the
Overlook would need to be accessed through the opening in the flood wall, which essentially
corresponds to the width of the street in that location, and how that could create difficulties
with ingress/egress for the different uses that would have been part of The Sail Project. “Boca
loved the Overlook location, but after further analysis of the site, they felt it would present too
many challenges, given the density of uses they had envisioned for that site, and the physical
makeup of the location,” Kinney stated.
Kinney indicated the City will continue with the review process, concentrating at this point on
the proposal by Corporex Realty & Investment and Jeff Ruby Culinary Entertainment, until the
revised Boca proposal is received, when the review of that proposal will also continue.

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