|Kyle Stevie (right) and Chris Reid in front of the two commercial buildings they bought at 1011 and 1013 S. Fort Thomas Avenue. FTM file.|
They weren't alone. The properties were the achilles heel of the historic Midway business district. Once low-rent apartments, they have fallen into utter disrepair. Once vacant, they became a magnet for seedy living situations and crime.
They were eyesores.
Now, Stevie and Reid, who are next door neighbors, will have the opportunity to restore the two buildings after closing on the properties on December 20. They started demolition of the inside of the properties on December 21. The final sale prices were $55,000 and $95,000 respectively.
When it's all said and done and if their plans come together, they will lease space to two different businesses and will have two apartments for rent above the 1011 building.
Stevie said he and Reid have had some preliminary negotiations with businesses in the food industry and envision the final product of a revamped Midway District that will resemble a version of Hyde Park.
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Stevie, a Newport Central Catholic graduate, has worked in sales for Total Quality Logistics for the last 13 years. Reid, who moved to Fort Thomas three years ago, owns Start To Finish Construction and Remodeling, which he started in 2010. Reid is an electrician by trade.
They met when Reid moved in next door to Stevie three years ago.
"I watched how he was building his addition onto his house next door and the detail and craftsmanship with how he worked on it was impressive. It's been really fun to watch so I felt very comfortable getting into this venture with him," said Stevie.
Reid, who has done a lot of remodeling work for historic residential properties on the East Row in Newport, said that the negotiations on the property were very drawn out.
He said they had an accepted contract on the sale of the buildings in June, with an original closing date in August. The holdup came when the properties, which were part of an estate, went through a lengthy probate process.
"We were told they couldn't give us a clear title for certain. I had three to four months blocked off to work on this project from my business, so after signing all the closing documents I was anxious to get to work. I told Kyle that we're going to need a lot of dumpsters," said Reid. "The period the buildings were built - late 1800s - they have really good bones. They are built extremely well, so just finding the right tenants and fit, there is a lot of promise there."
John Coffman Jr., listed the properties in March. His business is a block south on S. Fort Thomas and River Road.
|1011 and 1013 S. Fort Thomas Ave. FTM file.|
"When these properties hit the market there were many inquires and several lookers." he said. "It seemed like everyone had their own idea."
Reid said the apartments would be mid to high end apartments with built-in laundry and HVAC systems, new electric and plumbing.
"Once we have signed leases, our tenants could have a little say in the finish-out. We are toying with the idea of having garage doors in the front that you could open them up during nice weather and hopefully we can get the city to change things a little bit that would help us with outside seating or parking."
Both Stevie and Reid said their wives have been helpful and supportive in the endeavor.
Stevie said his wife, Allison, was instrumental in purchasing the buildings.
"We had discussed getting into real estate to have other streams of income and she saw the buildings for sale and was adamant that I go up to look at them. I knew what buildings she was talking about and I told her there was no way I was going to go in there without a hazmat suit on, but without her we likely wouldn't have even looked at them."
Reid said his wife, Carrie, was excited they were going to continue the revitalization of the district.
"I'm an entrepreneur by heart, so my wife has been supportive. The first project we ever did, she cried when she did the original walk through twelve years ago. Now she just says, 'whatever, I know you'll get it done so let's do it.'" he said.
So, what businesses could the new developers be bringing to Fort Thomas?
Reid said it was too early to say, but Fort Thomas Matters has learned that the favorites to sign those leases could be an ice cream shop and a bourbon and wine bar.
Regardless of which business ultimately signs a lease, Stevie said his time at TQL has taught him that hard work trumps almost everything else.
"I've seen what blind determination and persistence can do. I'm not sure if this will open up more opportunities for developing or not, but it's all about the adventure," he said. "The one thing I will do is to surround myself with people who know what the hell they are doing."
|Stevie surveys the demolition on December 22, two days after closing. FTM file.|
|Facing north, there is a small grass area and a city owned paper street. In the background is the iconic Fort Thomas Water Tower and Greene St. properties. FTM fie.|
|The properties have been vacant for years. FTM file.|