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Monday, January 4, 2021

Local Brothers to Build Custom Homes on Former Campbell Lodge Property

A family affair: The three Heil brothers (left to right) Ken, Bob and Joe Heil will develop their first residential project together on the former site of the Campbell Lodge Boys Home.

Barre3 Fort Thomas, 90 Alexandria Pike. Fort Thomas. 

by Robin Gee

Fort Thomas resident Bob Heil, CEO of KLH Engineers, and his brothers Ken Heil and Joe Heil have announced plans to redevelop the property that was once the site of the Campbell Lodge Boys Home, a boys group home facility operated by the Diocese of Covington, shuttered since 2012.

The Heils plan to build 19 custom homes on 50 acres of wooded property overlooking the Ohio River. The Altura Estates development promises most homes will have river views. In fact, said Bob Heil, the spectacular views are a strong selling point.

"We’ve shown the site to 20 people or so, and 15 have expressed some level of interest," he said. "The site sells itself. All I have to do is invite someone to meet me on the property, and the views take their breath away. This location is unlike anything you find in Campbell County."

Buyers can choose from a list of pre-qualified custom homebuilders and home designers/architects, he said. Lots range from $150,00 to $250,000. 

Altura Estates custom homes will be built overlooking the Ohio River.on the former site of the Campbell Lodge Boys Home shown on the map within the green outlined square.


Moving ahead

The Campbell County & Municipal Planning & Zoning Commission approved the preliminary site plan at a public hearing in September. At that time, the developers sought preliminary approval of their plan and a waiver that would allow five "flag lots," which the zoning commission also approved.

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The waiver was needed because the law said only 15 percent of a development can include flags. Homes built on flag lots do not front on any public street and have long driveways to connect with the street. The Heils explained when they made the request they wanted to build a few of the homes on the pads where some of the Lodge’s dormitories stood on the interior of the property.

Site-readiness and preparation work is scheduled to start early in 2021 with home construction expected to start by mid-summer. Financing is being handled by Heritage Bank based in Northern Kentucky and Cincinnati.

The brothers had been considering a development at the site for a few years. "Joe and I looked at the property a few years ago, and considered developing it," Ken Heil said. "But the timing wasn’t right."

As they formulated their plans, the Heils reached out to neighbors in Cold Spring, and said they received positive feedback for the development. The site is considered by locals to be Cold Spring, but is technically on unincorporated land within Campbell County. 

Remembering the Lodge, looking to the future  

The Campbell Lodge Boys Home closed its doors in 2012. Now it will be the site of 19 custom-built single-family homes.
The Heils grew up in Newport and say they remember the Campbell Lodge well. The Diocese of Covington opened facility in 1959 as a home for at-risk boys and teens. Joe Heil said when he and his brother Bob were children they sometimes practiced at the Lodge gym, and Bob recalled attending high school with boys from the facility.

A noted feature of the boys’ home was a riding arena built as a community service project only a few years before the facility closed its doors. The existing buildings on the site will all be demolished to make room for the development with the exception the arena, which will be donated to Potter’s Ranch, a Christian retreat center in Union.

Ken s the founder of Barleycorns restaurants with current locations in Florence, Lakeside Park and Cold Spring. His brother Joe is the co-owner and operations manager of the business.

Although this is the first residential development by the brothers, Ken developed Traditions Golf Club in Hebron, and Bob led the development of the Fort Thomas Executive Centre. He is also well-known in Fort Thomas for his community work and his support of the planned statue of General George Henry Thomas.

"We are so pleased to be breathing new life into this incredible property," said Bob, who intends to live in the development with his wife, Mary Beth. "The residents of Altura Estates will enjoy rural estate living just 10 minutes from downtown Cincinnati."

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