Will Northern Kentucky’s Manhattan Harbour ever get built?

Northern Kentucky leaders certainly cannot be faulted for their lack of big plans, but their implementation has been suspect over the past decade. A multi-billion plan in Newport, for example, called Ovation sits as an overgrown lot on the city’s riverfront. Meanwhile, in Dayton, KY, officials there have been working for years to try to make Manhattan Harbour a reality. The 73-acre riverfront development would include high-rises, condos, shopping, a marina and more, but will it ever happen? More from the Cincinnati Enquirer:

DCI’s project with the city has been scaled down from a $1 billion investment to a $300 million to $500 million development. The newest version will have 45 upscale single-family building lots under the name the Commons, a combination multifamily, high-rise condominiums and single-family homes with a mix of commercial development in an area called the Lookout, and luxury multifamily apartments in an area called the Vistas.

Manhattan Harbour’s mixed-use development has been in the works since 2005, when DCI signed the development agreement with the city, which owns the land. In 2008 and 2009, nearly a half-billion dollars in state and local tax incentives were approved for the project. A $10 million sewer line was laid in 2010 to prepare for development. A 20-year tax increment financing district was created for the site.

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  • Dan

    Ovation was a Corporex project and they’ve since shifted their focus to Denver so its unlikely NKY will see anything anytime soon. Same goes for the Corporex plans for the various parking lots around Rivercenter and the Ascent. Covington gave those guys way too much control over their future.

    NKY has a lot of potential and there have been some really cool plans (the Licking River Greenway, for example), but for whatever reason nothing seems to stick or move forward. If anything I feel like NKY has started to slip backwards in the shadow of everything happening at the Banks.

    • I think Northern Kentucky took a short-sighted approach with regard to the approach of redeveloping their riverfront. They have left behind a mud/flood wall, separated their existing historic centers from the water, created a new linear development that ignores the existing community, and is now at a real disadvantage when compared to what Cincinnati has done on the north shores of the riverbank. The unfortunate thing is that the decisions that have been made in Nky will be there for several generations before they can be fixed.

    • Southside

      Im not really sure how you can say it is a short sided approach. Walk over any bridge into the K Y and you will be greeted by new developement and historic residential neighborhoods. You can walk over any bridge into Cinci and be greated by???(The Roebling is a very recent exception) All of that developement gets you to no where. The KY route 9 extension through Newport has yet to be built before the Ovation project begins. There is a planned bicycle path for the mud walls. All sorts of apartment and condo develepement happening now as well as medical, grocery, and educational to support those neighborhoods. It sounds like there is a few more years of redevelopement that has to happen before it is done. Its also more of a regional approach and may take longer than a single city. The Banks? Pretty much a mountain of concrete with an entertainment district book ended with Stadiums surrounded by major highways that will be built out soon. Dont forget there is a major transit center buried in there to connect it all up for the future generations to figure out how to use. (o:

    • matimal

      unfortunately, not many arrive at riverside areas by walking across bridges. how long does something have to exist until it ‘counts’?

    • Eric

      You’re right. Covington would take back RiverCenter in a heartbeat for a Banks-like development if they could. But they wonder why their downtown isn’t thriving, because they essentially moved it to the river trying to be Cincinnati- http://groundlevelmw.blogspot.com/2013/07/the-street-deadening-high-rises-of.html

    • Neil Clingerman

      When in town, I walk down Madison Street in Covington and am constantly disappointed – here is a district that is one of the most intense and intact urban districts in the whole Cincinnati region, but its dead. Its like a larger version of East Walnut Hills something that is shocking given the walkable nature of the district – I feel that in other places these districts would be a lot more thriving. What’s missing with Madison in Covington?

  • 14th&Bremen

    Does the City of Cincinnati benefit from having more “clout” to be able to push and finance large developments like the ones NKY is trying to complete? Would the NKY river cities be able to push harder on Corporex/other large developers and lobby for more Kentucky State House money if they consolidated into one larger city? From crunching the numbers if Covington, Newport, Bellevue, Dayton, Ft. Thomas and Ludlow consolidated they would have a population of 88,566. That would easily make them the 3rd largest city in Kentucky behind city/county consolidated Louisville and Lexington.
    Consolidation in NKY would be an interesting follow-up article after the recent Cincinnati Annexation article on UrbanCincy.

    • I think you’re right on about this. Northern Kentucky is consistently under-represented in Kentucky state politics given its population and economic position. I’m not sure there is any chance of consolidation there, but it would seem to offer up some gains in political power at the statehouse.

    • Eric

      And Ohio has a more aggressive governor that will poach their corporations that mean far more to their smaller municipal budgets.


    This site’s obsession with trashing all things NKY-related is really bizarre. I am shocked that there aren’t already multiple comments about vacancies at Newport on The Levee as they usually pop up like clockwork on these type of articles. Damn that Glier’s Goettafest! Its so low rent when compared to Bunbury!!!!11

    • I think it’s important to track the history of development projects that happen and don’t happen. We do the same for the Cincinnati side of the river. The fact of the matter is that Cincinnati took a much slower, but better, approach to redeveloping its riverfront. Nky went for the quick score and it paid off for awhile, but it now seems to be backfiring. Heck you don’t have to take our word for it…just ask someone from the Nky development community their thoughts on the matter.

    • Eric

      I haven’t seen those comments but the levee is a sad mall, which is fine if that’s what they want. I would say that the historic districts of Covington and Newport are more livable than OTR right now, and you can actually afford to buy there.

    • OTR4EVER

      I agree it is not great but it could be worse. It has a few worthwhile attractions for families and a couple decent places to eat but very little beyond that. I was only commenting on the trend of pro-city of Cincinnati people looking down their noses at Newport, et al.