PHOTOS: Aqua on the Levee Rising Along Newport’s Waterfront

Last November developers broke ground on the $80 million second phase of Newport on the Levee, called Aqua on the Levee, some 15 years after the first phase opened. Since that time, a significant amount of work has progressed on the project that will yield 239 apartments, a hotel, and 8,300 square feet of retail.

The project is being built atop what long sat as a three-acre surface parking lot at the foot of the Purple People Bridge.

The residential component is expected to bolster business for retailers at the complex that have struggled to draw crowds on non-weekend days. It will also bring the first Aloft Hotel to the region, which will also be the trendy hotel’s first in Kentucky and feature 144 rooms, a bar and 10,000 square feet of meeting space.

The project is being developed by Capital Investment Group and Musselman Hotels, and is expected to be completed in fall 2016.

EDITORIAL NOTE: All six photographs were taken by Travis Estell on September 27, 2015.

  • I wonder what the thought process of including retail when they are next to a mostly empty mall. Maybe they need to convert that building to apartments also.

    • ED

      The layout and mix of tenants in the mall couldn’t be worse, whether it’s the faux main st or the 3-story cube of low-end retailers. Maybe they figure retail would do well on the street!

  • matimal

    What is it with ridiculously contrived names for new buildings in Cincinnati?

    • Neil Clingerman

      VP5C@TheWindowCubedShoreBank Phase II

    • matimal

      Don’t encourage them!

  • SC

    Interesting because isn’t the hotel on Main gonna be an Aloft too?

    Also, I’m sure this will be just as bland as Newport on the Levee. Sad but it just feels like it has no real authenticity or big draw.

    • Actually the one across the street from Great American Ball Park on Main Street will be an AC Hotel. Similar name, but different. We actually broke the news of that one here: http://www.urbancincy.com/2015/04/ac-hotels-to-open-regions-second-location-at-the-banks/.

      While NOTL has been a total disappointment in my opinion, I am hopeful that the injection of a couple hundred residential units and a hotel will help liven it up. I am guessing they are moving away from the mall-type retail at the existing building and will turn that into office space.

    • SC

      Ahh, thanks Randy. At least they both start with A so I’m not totally losing my mind.

      Yeah, we’ll see what happens. Now that the Banks and OTR are drawing a lot of Cinci residents, it’s hard to convince them that it’s worth it to go to the other side of the river anymore.

    • Neil Clingerman

      Both sides of the river should compliment and enchance each other not compete. I’m thinking that this development should only help out the Banks/Downtown and vice versa.

    • ED

      The megaprojects on the NKY riverfront for years capitalized on the area of the banks being an underutilized area of parking and onramps. There was always latent demand, NKY just put together the new riverfront development first.

  • Brad McLaughlin

    Happy to see this work rolling. Redoing the TravelLodge is good too.
    Yes, the current retail, outside of food and drink, is awful. But people forget, NOTL was all that and a bag of chips for quite a while. It still draws people to aquarium, AMC, & comedy club. I think most of the restaurants are solid. But when I walk/ride by there daily, I usually just use their restrooms. They have a similar battle to The Banks, how to balance being residential and an entertainment destination. Area residents might like a hardware store in NOTL, but that will not fly on a Tues night, nor appeal to movie goers. I think I would rearrange the entrances, then make Jungle Jim’s an offer they can’t refuse. Give them the entire bottom area. Then maybe a gym or something in the IMAX building. Current buying patterns have put the mall in the rear view mirror. Being so over built, office, or creative apartments might work too.

    • ED

      I can’t think of any point when the retail was actually thriving. Newport turned their back on Monmouth by focusing on the shiny new object that’s not so great anymore.

    • Robert Yoder

      Really, retail on Monmouth Street is doing quite well with an eclectic mix of retail and restaurants. Also, Newport Pavillon is 100% occupied, Newport Plaza only has one vacancy, and the abandoned K-Mart is currently being remodeled (Don’t blame Newport for Kmart’s fail management). Now, the 60 year old Newport Shopping Center is not looking so great, but not a lot of 60 year old strip malls do. I wouldn’t be surprised if something starts happening there in the near future.

    • charles ross

      OMG, Jungle Jim’s in Newport would be a treat!

  • Brian Boland

    Maybe now the surface lot next to Rivercenter will be developed into something? Has anyone heard if there is any hope of that happening?

    • There are a lot of surface parking lots and abandoned properties along the Northern Kentucky riverfront. It would be nice if Nky forgot about building highrises altogether and instead focused on building out those lots to 3-5 stories in height. That seems like a much better fit for Nky than a handful of highrises.

    • Robert Yoder

      Randy,
      If you would look at the pictures and count – Aqua is 3-5 stories in height from 3rd Street in Newport. It’s been in the comprehensive plan for Newport to keep the tall building to the far east and west sides of Newport’s river front with 3-5 story buildings in the center.

    • I like that Aqua is this height. I am not a big fan of the high-rises proposed for the Ovation site though.