Covington in process of subdividing former IRS site, aims to request construction proposals soon

Kenton Hornbeck
Kenton Hornbeck
Kenton is a reporter for LINK nky. Email him at [email protected]

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The city of Covington announced that they are subdividing the IRS property and plan to advertise construction proposals for some of the site’s parcels by the end of May.

Covington’s Economic Development Director, Tom West, broadcasted the plan during Thursday’s Covington Business Council luncheon.

So far, their subdividing work is based on a parcel study conducted in collaboration with Kenton County Planning & Development Services. The study researched the parcel sizes of various Covington neighborhoods so the city could use them as a reference when subdividing the land.

“We looked at the parcel sizes downtown, the parcel sizes in the Village, the parcel sizes in Roebling Point and we said if we want to make this feel like the rest of Covington, that’s part of the way we do it,” West said.

West told LINK nky the city’s goal is to have the development resemble other Covington neighborhoods so it naturally fits into the overall fabric of the city. Once completed, the development will reconnect downtown Covington, MainStrasse and Mutter Gottes with the Ohio Riverfront.

The project is going to be built in phases. Horizontal infrastructure like roads, waterlines, sewer systems and parking garages will be built first, followed by vertical construction, including the buildings. The city has been public about its desire to take its time during the planning stages.

KZF Design, the architecture firm in charge of developing the project’s infrastructure, designed the development’s street grid to match the preexisting street grid that was in place before the IRS building was constructed.

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“We’re basically putting the streets and utilities and the buildings back into the place that were there originally,” said Tim Sharp, chief strategy officer of KZF Design.

Once the site is subdivided, the city will draft and post a request for proposals, or RFPs, for construction companies to bid on. Since there is not a single master developer, the city will post multiple RFPs for different parcels within the project.

“You should start seeing RFPs for the first three to four blocks as early as the end of May,” West said.

In February, LINK nky reported that approximately 35 to 40 out-of-town developers and 10 to 15 local developers reached out to the city about the project.

Dubbed the Covington Central Riverfront project, the former IRS site is one of the largest ongoing real estate development projects in Northern Kentucky. In December, the city unveiled renderings of the mixed-use development.

The city purchased the 23-acre site for $20.5 million in 2020 after the federal government closed the IRS processing center the year prior. In 2022, O’Rourke Wrecking completed demolition of the building. As of today, the site sits empty as the city moves forward with their plans.

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