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Wednesday, March 10, 2021

A Year in the Pandemic: Newport on the Levee Owners Stay the Course

Despite a global pandemic and all the uncertainty and adjustments that go with that, North American Properties has pushed ahead with redevelopment of Newport on the Levee.

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by Robin Gee

It’s been a year now since the country faced its first lockdowns and other measures in the fight against COVID-19. It’s been a year of fear and loss for many individuals, families and communities. For businesses, it has been a year of uncertainty, and of loss as well, but also one of hope.

Local real estate firm North American Properties (NAP) was in the midst of a major redevelopment project for Newport on the Levee when the pandemic took hold. 

While new rules and safety restrictions came into play, the developer decided to adjust where needed and push ahead with its plans for the massive $100 million dollar renovation project for the 360,00-square-foot mixed used retail, entertainment and community gathering space.

NAP formed a COVID-response team and program they called "Better Together" to establish safety measures throughout the property, to make physical changes where necessary and any other adjustments that might be needed to keep people safe but also to keep the development plans and momentum going.

The company acquired the property in late 2018, and made some improvements, such as pop-up retail and holiday events throughout 2019, while they fleshed out and presented their much larger and more ambitious plan. Despite necessary precautions and changes brought about by the pandemic, the work has pretty much moved forward as planned.

A year of new developments

Last summer the company built and opened the Bridgeview Box Park, an outdoor community gathering and event space with views of the Ohio River, built near the foot of the Riverfront Commons Pedestrian Bridge. Located in the plaza next to Newport Aquarium, the space includes four shipping-like containers, an octagon-shaped structure and a food truck that is home to eight restaurants and retail businesses. 

With social distancing and safety guidelines in place, the Bridgeview Box Park has offered visitors an outdoor gathering space and a little retail therapy.


Although plans for the box park were in the works long before the pandemic hit, it provided a near perfect opportunity to present something fun, unique and safe enough to begin operation and provide a space for several family friendly events since its opening.

Just before the holiday season, the developers also opened The Exchange Market and The Exchange, a ground-floor artisan market with second-story office spaces in the former Barnes and Noble building that features 10 local vendors.

The company announced plans for Trade™ as well, a reimagined space in the Levee’s Gallery Building offering a revolving group of 12 vendors and four permanent shops. 

90 Alexandria Pike. Fort Thomas. 

Looking ahead

Work is continuing on the exterior as the company eyes a busy “construction season.” They are continuing with exterior upgrades, new signage and lighting and other enhancements to the Plaza and buildings.

Since opening the box park and other gathering spaces, the company has hosted more than 30 events, all with social distancing and other safety precautions in place. On the docket for this spring are:

  • Luck of the Levee (3/13)
  • March Madness viewing event (3/27-28)
  • Reds Opening Day Event (4/1)
  • Run for the Roses (5/1)

Renovating a massive space is no easy feat made more challenging with a global pandemic, but the Newport on the Levee project has chugged along and promises more good things to come. 

Improvements at Newport on the Levee continue as warmer weather gets underway.


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