Hotel Covington will add 60 new rooms, characterized by developers as "VIP and presidential suites" in the former downtown Covington YMCA building.
Additionally, a bourbon distillery experience and new office space are part of this $22.5 million development announced Wednesday morning.
The Salyers Group, vR Group, and the City of Covington jointly made the announcement.
"Our family has a long history of investing in downtown Covington and over the years, our investment in building and operating a hotel, reception halls and retail businesses have helped bring hundreds of thousands of people to the city," said Guy van Rooyen, president of the Salyers Group. That organization co-developed Hotel Covington and also operates the Madison event center, Fabulous Furs, and Fabulous Bridal, among other interests.
"We see this development as the next catalytic project to further the current momentum in Covington and a great opportunity to restore another historic building in the heart of this wonderful community."
The old YMCA building is connected to a corner building that was historically home to Citizens Bank and more recently, the downtown Covington campus bookstore for Gateway Community & Technical College. Both buildings were at one time expected to be part of what was imagined as a large urban campus for the two-year college. But those plans have been dramatically scaled back in recent years, and in October, the City of Covington purchased both buildings for $1.7 million from the Kentucky Community & Technical College System with the promise that a development announcement would be forthcoming.
Wednesday's announcement was teased with City of Covington banners on the property suggested that Area 51 or a day spa for the retired Goebel Goats could be placed there. There was even a peek-hole in the windows to mislead curious passersby.
But now the truth is out there.
Since it opened three years ago, Hotel Covington has garnered national press for both its accommodations and culinary experience. The new additional 60 rooms will be placed in the upper floors of the old YMCA building as a complement to the 114-room boutique hotel. The suites will range from 400 to 1,500 square feet, and the expansion will include private terraces with views of Covington. Each suite will pay homage to the history of the YMCA in Covington.
What was described as an "authentic bourbon distillery and bourbon experience" and 10,000 square feet of office space are also part of the development.
"We've labored for three years to create a new future for this important site, and we're thrilled to partner with a developer, the Salyers Group, that has a history of delivering on big projects in Covington," said Mayor Joe Meyer. "For too long, this corner has been all but vacant, but soon it will be attracting tourism over 100 jobs, and a restored storefront to the YMCA building."