Cincinnati-based Model Group restoring historic Covington neighborhood

Six years ago the City of Covington and residents of the city's East End neighborhood saw a variety of problems that they wanted to address.  Historic buildings were deteriorating, occupancy rates were declining, and the area was feeling less safe.

The neighborhood is still very much dominated by the Jacob Price housing development from the mid-Twentieth Century, but with the help of The Model Group, the neighborhood has experienced a dramatic turnaround.

"We knew that Jacob Price was going to take much longer to address, so we decided to take a scattered redevelopment approach of vacant properties in the area," said Robert Maly, Vice President of Development, The Model Group.

One of the first projects The Model Group took on was the redevelopment of the historic 5th District School building.  The $4 million project created 26 affordable senior housing units and restored a historic structure that had sat empty for 25 years.

"We knew this would be an extremely expensive and difficult project," said Maly.  "When we hosted the open house we had people there who had gone to the school and were thrilled to see it preserved."

The scattered redevelopment approach has continued for The Model Group.  Since 2004, they have invested close to $30 million into 45 different historic buildings and have created around 100 new units of housing for the once struggling neighborhood.

According to Maly, the City of Covington is still working towards redeveloping the Jacob Price housing site which Maly considers to be "functionally obsolete."

The Model Group says that many of the historic rehabilitations were made possible through state and federal historic tax credits, and that the majority of the 100 units The Model Group has developed have remained affordable to low- and moderate-income households.

"We're looking at some other development projects in the area, but right now we're focused on completing the difficult work we started in the East End neighborhood several years ago," said Maly.

Writer: Randy A. Simes
Photography by Scott Beseler
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