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Officials break ground on Covington's OneNKY Center

Kentucky officials including Governor Andy Beshear and Covington Mayor Joe Meyer break ground on the OneNKY Center Aug. 30.
Nick Swartsell
Kentucky officials, including Gov. Andy Beshear and Covington Mayor Joe Meyer, break ground on the OneNKY Center Aug. 30.

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear was in Covington Wednesday to help break ground on new office and life sciences lab space just south of the Roebling Bridge.

The project will receive $15 million in the state's budget — money Beshear says is well spent on the bustling life sciences industry.

"With this investment, we can support the many life sciences and biotech companies already in the region," he said. "And we can welcome new innovators and startup companies. And we can create more high-wage jobs and cutting-edge treatments right here in Kentucky."

Labs for the Covington Life Science Partnership and Covington Life Science Lab will occupy about 15,000-square feet of the 45,000-square foot building.

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A number of the region's economic growth and professional organizations — including OneNKY Alliance, Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, meetNKY, BE NKY Growth Partnership, The Catalytic Fund of Northern Kentucky, Horizon Community Funds of Northern Kentucky, and the Northern Kentucky Bar Association — will occupy office space there. The project will also include 44 underground parking spaces. Officials say the building is already 96% leased.

"From groups focused on business development, tourism, innovation and community support, you are truly working together," Beshear said. "What a fitting name — OneNKY — and the groups that it's going to house."

Covington Mayor Joe Meyer said the project is right in the middle of a massive influx of investment in the area along the Ohio and Licking rivers.

"Within a mile of either direction of this site, there is over $5 billion of public and private investment underway," he said. "From the $3.1 billion on the Brent Spence Bridge, to the $1 billion Ovation project, to the Fourth Street Veterans Bridge — a $69 million project that will be started later this year — to the work on Fourth Street to the work on the former IRS Center, this building is at the heart of it."

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The project has long been on regional leaders' wish lists. It took investment from a number of foundations and banks, money in the state budget and credit enhancement in the form of up to $10 million in construction bonds approved by the Kenton County Fiscal Courts to make the project a reality.

Covington-based Corporex is leading development of the building, which should be finished by March 2025.

Nick has reported from a nuclear waste facility in the deserts of New Mexico, the White House press pool, a canoe on the Mill Creek, and even his desk one time.