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Newport prepares to add two businesses at 1300 Monmouth Street, site of the old Kmart building

By Don Owen
NKyTribune reporter

Since Kmart closed its doors in 2014, most of the property up on the hill at the 1300 block of Monmouth Street in Newport has been vacant.

That will soon change, according to Newport city manager Thomas Fromme.

Thomas Fromme

Fromme informed the Newport commissioners during a caucus meeting on Monday night that two businesses — Ross Stores, Inc. and Burlington Coat Factory — are expected to move into two of the vacant units that once housed Kmart in the Newport Plaza. Fromme said Gator Investments has redeveloped the site and will add Ross Stores and Burlington Coat Factory in the near future.

An ALDI grocery store has been the only business at the site for the past two years, and Fromme said that adding Ross Stores and Burlington Coat Factory will be a boost to the area.

“ALDI has been the only thing up there in that building. With other businesses there, there will be more of a draw for ALDI as well,” Fromme said. “I think they’ll start moving forward on it very soon. When they start getting sign permits, it’s pretty imminent.”

Ross Stores is a chain of off-price department stores headquartered in California. It operates under the band name of Ross Dress for Less. Burlington Coat Factory is a national off-price department store retailer.

“Having those two will be a shot in the arm to that plaza,” Fromme said. “ALDI is doing well, and with Gator Investments bringing in the two other businesses, it will add a great deal to that part of the city.”

Prior to its closing in 2014, Kmart had been the primary tenant at the Newport site for more than 30 years. Kmart closed its doors at the Newport location in 2014 because the lease was not renewed.

Fromme also noted that the Academy on 4th apartment building will likely open in late 2019 or early 2020. Construction is expected to take 18 months, according to Fromme.

Rendering of the Academy on 4th in Newport.

The Academy on 4th, which is being built along Fourth Street between Monmouth and Saratoga streets on a site that was once Newport Intermediate School, will include 230 units.

“They will be high-scale residential units,” Fromme said. “The ripple effect for local merchants is huge. Say half of those units are more than one resident. You’re looking at potentially 400 residents on top of those at Monmouth Row and the other apartments that have already been built. You’re looking at 400 residents who will have pretty good income, and so they can spend their money at the local businesses.

“The ripple effect is the benefit there. The biggest recipients of that ripple effect will be the businesses right there in that vicinity.”

Fromme said he expects there to be plenty of demand for the new apartments at the Academy on 4th.

“Newport is so easy to get to, so close to everything, I don’t think the other apartment complexes have had any trouble finding renters,” he said. “I think they will have a really good market. I don’t think there are many vacancies at the others. If you look at apartment complexes in Newport, you find a high percentage of occupied units. It’s about the location.”

The board of commissioners will convene in a regular meeting on Oct. 15 at 7 p.m.

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