NEWPORT, Ky. (FOX19) - Newport on the Levee is about to undergo a complete re-imagination, with the new owners focusing on three major areas: food, fitness and live music.
Construction has already started. There are barriers up around, what had been Mitchell’s Fish Market, but the owners won’t reveal yet what’s going into that space. By the end of this Summer, between demolition and new construction throughout next year, North American Properties said the Levee will be transformed into one giant, comfortable living room for the community.
“We want live music! We want new restaurants, we want a central, magnetically social environment for us to come and enjoy! And we want it to be new experiences,” said Tim Perry, who is the managing partner with North American Properties & Chief Investment Officer of Acquisitions.
Those were just some of the “wants” Perry gleaned from social media, once his company North American Properties took ownership. They did a survey online, especially after Mitchell’s closed, to see what people wanted to see in their space.
"People are coming there and they're looking for more to do, than what has been there,” said Perry.
People like California transplant Alicia Miller who says the inside is looking a little vacant.
"The stores inside have definitely disappeared, and that's what I'd like to see more of,” said Miller, who wanted to also see more unique food choices.
"Probably a little more cultural diversity, when it comes to foods,” she said.
“Seafood! Tons of seafood,” said Margery Koveleski enthusiastically, who along with her husband Michael are small business owners in Yellow Springs.
They say the hole-in-the-wall restaurants are usually where you can find amazing food.
Their daughter Lily knows what kind of store she would like to see: “A toy store!”
Perry says just look at the re-imagined inside of the Levee, with brighter and more inviting spaces, with the goal of embracing the community 18 hours a day. They’re also talking with local restaurants, plus some new-to-market venues.
"Whether you're coming along the Levee walk and walking your dog in the morning or the evenings, or arriving by car and having an entrance to the parking deck off of 3rd Street, or coming across the Purple People Bridge, looking for a place to put your bike and enter the gallery, building, all of those are going to be completely open, and you'll be able to see the river, see the city, much more welcoming environment, than the way it was done,” said Perry.
The goal, Perry said, is to make the Levee more porous, you'll physically be able to see through it.
"And then Monmouth Street coming in from the south, creating that central intersection, it really pushes Newport on the Levee to become the entire community’s living room,” said Perry.
They’re in discussions with various boutique fitness vendors right now.
The sheer amount of covered parking, Perry told us, is one of the most appealing features of the Levee.
"Really unique in the entire region, to have that many spaces that are covered and can serve one small community, one project. Really unique, the access, the visibility and the parking are unmatched,” said Perry.
What also really impressed him, he told us, were the people they’ve experienced so far.
"Kentucky and the whole region are just so welcoming and warm,” said Perry.
Don’t forget, the new amphitheater is coming to Newport, just to the side of the Aquarium, plus The Sky Wheel, which sit on the deck straddling both the Aquarium and Levee shops. Construction on the Sky Wheel should be starting at any time. Look for demolition and construction all around the Levee in a few weeks, Perry said, with the final re-imagination done, by the end of 2020. For more information on future plans and ongoing programming, visit newportonthelevee.com.