Kenton County Continues Pre-Design Process for New Administration Building

Kenton County is continuing the pre-design process for its new administration building in Covington, and wants your ideas.

In addition to the Covington location, Kenton County is also studying the current utilization of the Courthouse in Independence, and retained GRW Engineering to lead that process. 

“Our search criteria for a County Administration Building in Covington required that the new location have much improved accessibility and free surface parking.  That’s been accomplished with the Bavarian Brewery site,” said Judge/Executive Kris Knochelmann. “As we continue the pre-design process, we want to leave no stone unturned in evaluating every possible idea for the utilization of this property.”

“We’ve spoken with a number of governmental entities about co-locating.  We’ve also been approached by a wide variety of individuals and organizations about possible partnerships.  Early in the pre-design process, we want to get all possibilities on the table.”

To submit your ideas, click here to visit the citizen input form! 

History of Kenton County Administration Buildings

For multiple reasons, the Kentucky General Assembly took the unusual step in 1851 of authorizing Kenton County to open administrative offices in Covington, a unique dual service-delivery designation with the County Seat in Independence shared in form with only one other county in the Commonwealth.  For more than 150 years, Kenton County has provided services in both Covington and Independence to effectively meet the needs of the entire county.

When the current county administration building at 303 Court Street opened in 1969, it contained the City of Covington, the courts of the now 16th Judicial District, the Kenton County Jail, and the Kenton County Fiscal Court.  One-by-one, tenants moved out – first the City, then the Courts and finally the Jail. At the end of this process, the County was left with a nearly fifty year old building that is about 40% utilized, in a location away from major traffic arteries and with no free surface parking for use by residents. 

In 2015, Kenton County studied the cost of renovating the existing county administration building.  At the end of the review, it was determined that it would take $24.5 million to fully renovate 303 Court Street and an additional $2 million for relocation costs during construction.  However, even if the County invested that amount of money, the surface parking and accessibility issues would remain unresolved. 

For this reason, the County retained an outside firm to conduct a real estate analysis of sites in Covington that would deliver optimal accessibility and maximum free surface parking.  After a complete search of all feasible parcels in the 12th Street corridor and north, two optimal sites in Covington were identified.

Following an investigation of both properties, Kenton County chose to purchase the old Bavarian Brewery in Covington, immediately adjacent to I-71/75, for use as the site of a new county administration building.  With approximately 4.5 acres, and located immediately off the 12th Street interstate exit, this location offers great access to residents with ample free surface parking.

The County was fortunate to acquire the property at a savings of nearly a million dollars over its previous sale price.  In 2007, the property was purchased by the prior owner for $5.4 million; the County paid $4.5 million for it this year. 

Citizens can view the current project timeline here.