Five new businesses were announced Wednesday at Newport on the Levee as owner North American Properties Group (NAP) announced its Bridgeview Box Park project.
The colorful box park will feature six local restaurants and retailers and is described as a window-service park to be an extension of the plaza across from the Newport Aquarium on the site previously occupied by Mitchell's Fish Market, which was demolished. It will be in the center of the Riverfront Commons trail with access to the Purple People Bridge.
Bridgeview Box Park will feature a turf plaza with festival lighting overhead, outdoor seating, programmable space for entertainment, four shipping-like container boxes, an octagon-shaped box, and a food truck.
An Entertainment Destination License allows guests to stroll through the park with adult beverages purchased at the Levee as they enjoy views of the river and skyline, listen to live music, and watch fireworks.
A large "Bridgeview" art mural visible from the Ohio River will soon rise above the park to highlight the new landmark.
Some of the businesses that will open at Bridgeview, as described in the announcement, include:
- Kon-Tiki on the Levee is a laid-back tiki bar serving exotic tiki drinks in a comfortable and eclectic setting, perfect for escaping fast-paced city life and soaking up the views of the riverfront and the Queen City.
- The View at Shires’ Garden, a food truck version of the restaurant located at City Club Apartments CBD, will offer picnic-style grilled and smoked meats, sandwiches and sides, as well as handmade empanadas and other snacks.
- The Little Spoon Bakery and Café, a bakery by Courtney Augsback specializing in custom sugar cookies and baked goods, will be located in the "Octagon" adjacent to the Newport Aquarium. Little Spoon will also serve Carabello coffee and a full-range of espresso drinks and beverages.
- Bon Mi Street is an Asian street food eatery that is described as refreshing, artsy and creative with a unique spin on the traditional banh mi sandwich and refreshing milk tea with a variety of toppings.
- Leaf & Limb is a vibrant boutique featuring a wide variety of indoor plants and curated goods from local and worldwide artisans.
"We are creating an experience akin to sitting on your deck at home, except imagine that you are sipping an umbrella drink while people watching and taking in the four bridges stretching over the river," said Adam Schwegman, partner and senior vice president of leasing at NAP. "The Box Park model is part of our approach to curating a retail and restaurant mix that is fresh, modern and approachable for small businesses. Moreover, the open-air design of the box park naturally lends itself to creating a comfortable gathering place for the community as we start to return to the 'next normal.' "
At the box park and throughout the Levee, NAP is deploying its COVID-19 response program Better Together, which involves a series of proactive steps and protective measures that make the Levee as safe as possible for the community’s return. The program is designed by an in-house, 14-person task force and in accordance with guidelines provided by the CDC and government agencies.
At Newport on the Levee, NAP is taking the following steps:
- Working with private security to kindly enforce rules around social distancing by limiting crowds to 10 people or less.
- Installing signage around property reminding guests to maintain 6 feet of distance from others. This includes floor decals that show guests how far they should stand from others while waiting in line throughout common areas.
- Increasing sanitization protocols, especially for high-touch surfaces such as door handles.
- Installing new hand sanitizer stations around property.
- Encouraging the use of protective face coverings and providing masks to guests who ask for them.
- Spacing out furniture in common spaces, when approved by the governor, with marked placers to ensure 6 feet of separation between parties.
- Asking all property employees to monitor their health and temperature daily. They have also been provided with protective face coverings and gloves.
The program for the Levee will be further built out and refined after Governor Andy Beshear outlines specific protocols around the reopening of restaurant, retail and entertainment businesses as well as common areas. NAP has successfully launched Better Together at two mixed-use properties in Georgia, Avalon and Colony Square, where openings have been approved.
As part of the Better Together program at the Levee, NAP will conduct a survey on social media in the coming weeks to poll the community on the types of events they are comfortable attending over the next several months, such as small acoustic concerts and outdoor yoga classes with mats six feet apart. The results will help inform event plans for the remained of the year.
"While we are staying nimble and making adjustments to safely serve our community under these new circumstances, our vision of transforming Newport on the Levee into an energized destination is moving forward as planned," said Tim Perry, managing partner at NAP. "The rules around public gatherings have certainly changed, but we believe the act of being together and communing is an important human experience that we are craving now more than ever. Bridgeview Box Park is uniquely positioned to be that casual gathering place where you come with friends and responsibly enjoy the community in which you live."
NAP is reconfiguring the 380,000-square-foot property to improve pedestrian flow and provide unobstructed views of the river, embrace connectivity with the Purple People Bridge and incorporate more outdoor patios and enhanced public spaces. This is a multi-phased redevelopment that involves relocating tenants due to construction, particularly those located in The Gallery Building, which will be transformed into a weather-proof gathering locale.