|A screenshot from the video shows some of the anticipated changes to Newport on the Levee.|
(Img: Newport on the Levee)
By Jessie Eden
Big changes are coming to Kentucky's riverfront. The Newport on the Levee released a video rendering via its Facebook page on Wednesday afternoon showing what it will look like after all its renovations are complete.
On Wednesday, North American Properties announced via a press release that the major construction on the redevelopment of the Levee will begin this week.Throughout the Levee, a series of open-air communal spaces are taking shape, with the addition of green space, fresh landscaping, lighting, sun shades and seating throughout the Promenade level.
Open-air spaces like the Aquarium Plaza are getting facelifts and the 113,000-square-foot Gallery Building is undergoing major renovations that will weather-proof the venue for events as well as create a place to relax, work and socialize.
The pandemic did slow construction process but during that time, Bridgeview Box Park was created. By mid-2021, the Levee will feature an "active public realm, reenergized Gallery Building and enhanced connectivity with the waterfront, streets and bridges."
North American Properties purchased the Newport on the Levee in 2018 with the intent to do a $100 million dollar renovation -- at the very least.
This new video depicts an exterior facelift with more green space in front of where the former Barnes and Nobel used to be. Per statements by Newport on the Levee in September 2019, the building will now be used as commercial office space.
|Bridgeview Box Park as depicted in a new video rendering released on Wednesday.|
North American Properties has its own 14-person COVID-19 response team that is helping to redesign spaces and services throughout the Levee in accordance with federal and state guidelines.
The box design has allowed for flexibility as North American determines whether it becomes a permanent feature of the Levee or a temporary home for businesses who look to move into the redeveloped Gallery Building at a later date.
Currently, the space takes full advantage of the river views and includes a large art mural to highlight the park. The space is also designated as an Entertainment District which allows visitors to carry adult beverages within the area.
As of now, the rendering released today shows that it could remain in place.
It also shows a significant facelift on the inside main floor but does not indicate what will happen to the former I-Max space on the opposite side of the Levee.
In September 2019, a rendering was released for the “Newport Center for the Performing Arts” where the I-Max theater operated before it closed in 2003...but even then, Newport City Manager Tom Fromme said neither of those additions were set in stone, but he was certain that North American wanted to “open that whole area up” as part of the Levee’s redevelopment.
Previous renderings released also showed a new vehicle and pedestrian entrance where Brio Tuscan Grille now sits...but the rendering released on Wednesday still depicted Brio in the same spot.
Check out the full video and press release from Newport on the Levee below;
Next Phase of Construction Begins at Newport on the Levee
On the heels of opening Bridgeview Box Park, construction kicks into high gear on the redevelopment
Initial construction on the redevelopment began in June 2019 with the demolition of the building formerly home to Mitchell’s Fish Market. The pandemic temporarily slowed construction progress, so NAP used that time to create Bridgeview Box Park, a vibrant container park featuring eight local restaurants and retailers along the river.
“Rather than pausing all efforts with the onset of the pandemic, we pivoted to focus on delivering Bridgeview Box Park as a fun and safe place for the community to come out of isolation and gather together again, while still having space to physically distance,” said Tim Perry, managing partner at NAP. “We are excited to start this next phase of construction and bring our vision for the new Newport to fruition. It’s time for Newport on the Levee to be a regional destination, drawing people to enjoy its irreplaceable views, new mix of uses, engaging events and places to convene with family, friends and neighbors.”
Throughout the Levee, a series of open-air communal spaces are taking shape, with the addition of greenspace, fresh landscaping, lighting, sun shades and seating throughout the Promenade level. These spaces between the buildings where the community can hang out and gather while physically distancing are of the utmost priority to the development team and play a leading role in the new Newport experience.
Another major focus of the redevelopment is the 113,000-square-foot Gallery Building, which will become a weather-proof locale for the public. While great open-air spaces like the Aquarium Plaza are getting facelifts, The Gallery Building is undergoing radical surgery so that it serves as a venue for events as well as a place to relax, get work done and spend time with friends and family. The westside of The Gallery Building will be demolished and replaced with a striking, all-glass wall to flood natural light into the space.
The redevelopment plan also calls for enhanced connectivity throughout the Levee and surrounding area. As part of the Gallery Building renovations, a new entrance will directly connect the eastside of the building with the Purple People Bridge. Additionally, a new parking garage entrance is being created to improve access from Third Street, and the valet circle will be modified to enhance traffic flow. In June, the $1.2 million Riverfront Commons Pedestrian Bridge opened, connecting Taylor Southgate Bridge to the riverwalk level of the Levee.
Several of the other buildings at the Levee are slated for cosmetic upgrades, including new exterior paint following a fresh color palette of whites and grays. While renovations are underway, businesses will continue to stay open and accessible to guests. Both the Newport Aquarium and AMC have recently reopened to the public, along with most of the existing restaurants and retailers at the Levee.
There is also a variety of complimentary outdoor events and entertainment lined up at the Levee this year, including Wellness on the Levee, a weekly yoga series on the riverwalk level, and Newport Nights, a weekly live acoustic music series at Bridgeview Box Park.
NAP’s COVID-response program, Better Together, continues to create a comfortable environment for the community to come together at the Levee. As part of the effort, NAP established a number of safety measures and made physical changes on property, such as the addition of artful hexagons on the ground of the Central Plaza to remind guests to keep a 6-foot distance. The full list of safety measures can be found here.
Cincinnati-based Turner Construction is the construction manager for the project. Global consulting firm J.S. Held is serving as owner's representative. Reztark Design Studio is the architect of record providing design services.
To stay updated on the latest redevelopment happenings and property news, follow Newport on the Levee on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter or visit the website at newportonthelevee.com.