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NEWPORT, KY-Corporex Cos., a Covington-based developer, plans to erect an $800-million mixed-used community on a former public housing site at the confluence of the Ohio and Licking rivers. Initial plans for Ovation include 1.1 million sf of office space, about 1,000 homes, 300,000 sf of retail space, hotels and new civic spaces.

Debra Vicchiarelli, chief marketing officer of Corporex, tells GlobeSt.com that her company expects to close on the 14-acre site in the next 30 days. The developer plans to begin construction on the massive project, which could take a decade or more to develop, within the next year.

Earlier this year, the City of Newport selected Corporex from a group of five developers vying for the rights to develop the prime site across the river from Cincinnati. In a proposal submitted to the city, Corporex envisions a large outdoor courtyard with fountains and music as the core of the Ovation development. The courtyard, which will play host to holiday celebrations, will be ringed by 114,000 sf of retail. Elsewhere in the mixed-use community an 88,000-sf retail building will house retailers catering to the day-to-day needs of the neighborhood’s residents.

The centerpiece of the 1.1-million-sf office component will be a 25-story, 538,000-sf tower along the Licking River. Four one-story office buildings comprising 406,000 sf are also included in the plans. Two of those smaller buildings will be located near project’s core, and the other two will be on the edge. The new office space brings with it the potential to add more than 5,000 jobs to the community, according to Corporex.

The housing options in Ovation are expected to be a mix of townhomes, condos in mid- and high-rise buildings, and senior housing units. Plans also call for up to two hotels with more than 600 rooms, a large entertainment complex and more than 6,000 parking spaces.

A mixed-use project of this size and scope is a new challenge for Corporex, but Vicchiarelli says the company has plenty of experience developing all of the product types planned for Ovation. “We’ve developed projects in 18 different states, but we’ve never put it all together in one location like this,” she says. “The goal is to create the Newport that we want to leave to our children and our grandchildren.”

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