Facing the south bank of the Ohio River, Newport on the Levee has developed a reputation as a dominant retail and entertainment destination since its introduction to the region in 2001. Attracting over 4.5 million visitors annually, this iconic locale now finds itself under new ownership.

North American Properties, a privately held real estate operating and development company headquartered in Cincinnati, recently acquired the 360,000-square-foot development in December 2018. Its goal: To transform one of Northern Kentucky’s most authentic spaces with “renewed relevance,” says Tim Perry, managing partner of NAP Acquisitions.

Newport on the Levee chose to kick off this new era on the same night as its summer music concert series. Before Soul Pocket, a self-proclaimed party and dance band, started to perform, various influential business figures took to the stage to emphasize how this night was worthy of celebration.

“I can confidently say the direction of North American Properties will lead us into the future,” said David Spaulding, vice president of Turner Construction, the company responsible for the building improvements, at the event. “This brick and mortar milestone has a groundbreaking vision.

“This property is critical to the region’s prosperity,” Spaulding continued. “It makes a difference in people’s lives.”

The crowd, consisting of a few hundred guests throughout the night, listened in as they sat in lawn chairs or on benches in front of the stage facing a picturesque view of the Ohio River. Others mingled with friends and family while purchasing drinks from Braxton Brewing Company or buying food from the concessions stand. Concertgoers could look in any direction and be reminded of the popular businesses that make up the plaza with Newport Aquarium on their left, AMC and Barnes and Noble to their right, and local favorites like Sweet Dreams Candy and Tom + Chee directly behind them. Different signage lined the venue’s perimeter with on-brand mottos such as “New Romance on the Levee” or “New Wellness on the Levee.”

The plans outline construction beginning in late summer 2019 that will continue throughout 2020.

“Today starts the journey of a new reintroduction,” Perry said while onstage to a warm round of applause. “Next Christmas in 2020 we will have a completely redesigned Newport on the Levee.”

After the opening remarks concluded, a group of men and women, white hard hats on and sledgehammers in hand, symbolically broke ground on an unwavering vision to offer the best public space to Kentuckians and Greater Cincinnatians possible.

Turner Construction is tasked with revamping current capital spaces for the benefits of residents. Further announcements regarding new restaurants, retail concepts, activation efforts and events are still to come, although Reztark Design Studio has come up with preliminary renderings giving people an opportunity to glance into the future.

It remains to be seen whether the reimagined Newport on the Levee can feature exciting changes while still offering the hometown familiarity that local customers appreciate, but Newport Mayor Jerry Peluso believes the entire city can benefit from these changes.

“Newport on the Levee remains one of the region’s top draws,” Peluso says. “There’s an exciting ripple effect. Tremendous commitment and investment will continue to transform the city and region.”

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