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The Downs of Nicholson coming to life; major work in progress, Barleycorns expected to open in March ’25

By Patricia A. Scheyer
NKyTribune reporter

Residents in the city of Independence have been excited about the upcoming opening of the Downs of Nicholson, a multi-use community project encompassing about 30 acres at the crossroads of US 16 and US 17. The site is about a mile down the road from the LaRosa restaurant, which is also owned by entrepreneur and business owner Gary Holland.

A rendering of the Barleycorns restaraunt expected to open in March 2025 at Downs of Nicholson in Independence. (Photo providedO

Some people have been a little impatient, since the new project was announced last March, but like all good things, it will be worth the wait.

“The Downs of Nicholson is an extraordinary opportunity for our company,” said Drew Holland, Director of Construction for One Holland, the company that is bringing the project to life. “It allows us to build a development in Independence that’s truly special, blending modern living with the classic beauty of Kentucky horse farms.”

Independence CAO Chris Moriconi said that last March Independence Council okayed some changes to the plan for the Downs of Nicholson which delayed the initial part of the project for six months, but Moriconi believes the plan is better than ever, saying the changes incorporated consisted of making sure there was more greenspace and more of the horse-farm feel.

“We’ve partnered with local contractors and with a nationally renowned horse barn builder, to bring our vision to life,” said Drew Holland.

Moriconi said all the infrastructure is in, as are all the roads, the sewers and the electric service, so major changes are now on the horizon.

A rendering of Limestones at The Downs of Nicholson (Photo provided)

“I’m told that by April we won’t recognize the area,” stated Moriconi.”We just received brand new renderings of the buildings.”

Barleycorn’s marks its 50th anniversary this year, and they will celebrate this momentous occasion by opening their fifth location in Northern Kentucky at The Down’s. The new Barleycorn’s will have 12,000 square feet in the main barn which occupies a total of 36,000 square feet.

Limestone’s, a fine dining establishment, will have 3,300 square feet of outdoor seating, on patios with views of a landscaped pond. Limestone’s will offer southern cuisine and an extensive bourbon bar, a reflection of Kentucky’s bourbon-making tradition.

In addition, the 1842 Barleycorn’s Brewhouse will be located in the lower part of the barn. The brewery will be able to produce an initial capacity of 1,500 barrels of craft beer annually because it will be equipped with a 10-barrel, 3 vessel brewing system. If that proves to be an inadequate supply, it can be expanded as needed. The Brewhouse is an extension of the Barleycorn’s brand, a complimentary branch of their existing production at the Wilder Brewhouse.

Rendering of a partial part of the development (Photo provided)

Jay Shelton, CEO of Barleycorns, is also the CFO at One Holland, and like Gary Holland, is an Independence native.

“The name ‘1842’ pays homage to the year Independence was founded, symbolizing Barleycorn’s strong ties to local history and their dedication to celebrating the community’s heritage,” he said.

Barleycorns, Limestones, and the 1842 Brewery are all slated to open next year, in March of 2025, whereas other establishments, such as First Watch, Roy Rogers, and Nicholson’s General Store, should make an appearance at the end of this year.

Roy Rogers and the General Store will share space in a barn, and First Watch will be located in another barn.

The Grande Nicholson Event Center is also going to open in December of 2024, and it will be able to seat 300. It will also have 6 cottages and a guest house available to rent.

One Holland is known for food businesses in the area, beginning with its first location, the Independence Skyline Chili, in 2000. Since then, it has expanded its business to over 53 locations, including the LaRosa’s Pizzeria and the Dunkin in Independence. Gary Holland is also very involved in the communities that he loves, giving back whenever he can.

“We believe The Downs of Nicholson will serve as a gateway into southern Kenton County, including 65 patio homes in its second phase, set for 2026. This project is particularly notable as One Holland will not only develop the property but will also retain ownership and manage the operation of all the businesses and patio homes.” said Gary Holland. “Our One Holland team is excited about The Downs because it’s not only in our hometown, but there will be nothing like it in Greater Cincinnati. The development captures the essence of Kentucky horse farms and we believe it will be the focal point for the city of Independence and its residents.”

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