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Features

Catalytic Fund's Beyond the Curb offers inside look at iconic NKY homes

Historic curb appeal is one feature that attracts prospective home buyers to NKY's river cities

Beyond the Curb tour-goers enjoy a sneak peak inside NKY homes and businesses

Visitors explore a newly renovated historic home in Bellevue

Tour stops include old and new construction as well as both occupied and for-sale properties

Covington's outside-the-box renovations include a repurposed historic firehouse

Iconic throwbacks like the Marianne Theater lend to the historic charm of Bellevue and Dayton

Across the river from downtown Cincinnati, Northern Kentucky offers a small-town feel with sweeping views


How many times have you driven by one of NKY’s many iconic buildings and made a mental note to take a closer look on foot someday?
 
Whether you’re thinking about joining the regional and national migration to the urban core or you’re just a weekend warrior with a penchant for poking around, you’re in luck. A new Northern Kentucky initiative is taking visitors deep inside some of its most interesting residential and commercial spaces.
 
Beyond the Curb, a series of one-day, self-guided tours created by regional investors at The Catalytic Fund, kicked off last fall in Covington and Newport. The tour made its way eastward last month with a real estate showcase in Bellevue and Dayton.
 
The series will continue this September in Ludlow and West Covington, and organizers aren’t ruling out making Beyond the Curb an ongoing initiative. Tours comprise a mix of historic and new properties as well as occupied and for sale.
 
As is often the case with the Catalytic Fund’s Northern Kentucky-based projects, the edification of local residents is just a happy byproduct. In its efforts to promote community vibrancy, the initiative addresses a main focus area of the Skyward/myNKY regional plan, but Beyond the Curb's ultimate goal is to inspire people to move here and take advantage of the area’s safe and affordable riverfront properties, many of which feature impressive views of the Cincinnati skyline.
 
“Our experience in Northern Kentucky’s real estate segment revealed that we needed a more holistic urban living marketing strategy,” The Catalytic Fund’s Development Services Manager Tara Johnson says. “Beyond the Curb was the solution we chose to encourage residents and visitors from across the region to get better acquainted with urban living, while also enjoying the rich architecture and interior design of homes of all types in our urban river cities.”
 
The initiative is proving successful so far. While organizers have yet to quantify purchases as a direct result of tour attendance, Beyond the Curb has enjoyed positive public reception as reflected in tour-goer satisfaction surveys, media coverage and anecdotal evidence.
 
Bellevue City Councilman Ryan Salzman is just one of those singing the praises of Beyond the Curb.

“The tour went off without a hitch,” he says. “We are grateful to the planners and volunteers for their hard work. Hundreds of people got to enjoy Bellevue’s historic charms and wonderful skyline views.”
 
Collectively, Beyond the Curb events have drawn visitors from as far north as Dayton, Ohio, and as far south as Louisville, Ky. But perhaps the biggest reactions have come from Greater Cincinnati residents who simply haven’t visited Northern Kentucky’s riverfront cities in a while.
 
“So many people came up to me at the event and said, ‘You know, I hadn't been to Bellevue since I was a kid, but this is wonderful,’" Salzman says.

 
Expert weighs in on NKY real estate opportunities
 
Northern Kentucky’s river towns boast an ample supply of the “historic charms” that Salzman references. With a wide range of single-family homes, rentals and commercial properties — many of which date back as far as the mid-19th century — transplants will find options to suit every budget and level of DIY ambition.
 
Rebecca WeberAnd it’s not limited to Bellevue, according to Northern Kentucky Realtor Rebecca Weber. Here Weber provides thoughts on the NKY real estate climate as well as pro tips for those considering the move.
 
What advantages does NKY offer that buyers might not find across the river or elsewhere?
Northern Kentucky offers easy access to all major roadways and the airport. There are amazing main street areas like Fairfield Avenue in Bellevue and Covington’s MainStrasse Village. There is plenty of green space, festivals and, of course, a fantastic view of downtown.
 
What options are available for people without a million-dollar budget?
There are multiple options. The current real estate market makes availability a challenge, but you can find a home with amazing original detail in Northern Kentucky to renovate, or you can buy something that’s already done.
 
What is the most common question you hear from prospective buyers?
They ask, 'Where do I shop for groceries?’ It wasn’t until too long ago there were few comforting options. These days, Newport Pavilion offers one of the region’s best venues for shopping.
 
Are there advantages to purchasing a historic home or commercial property?
In addition to becoming a steward of the home’s legacy, historic homebuyers join a community of people who have feverishly embraced historic renovation. Most buyers are attracted to NKY’s urban environments, and you aren't likely to find new construction in those areas. So, whether it’s a calculated decision to renovate, or you’re learning as you go, you will enjoy not only the location and architecture but also the finished product.
 
Additionally, Historic homebuyers can obtain tax credits from the Kentucky Heritage Council as long as they follow the Secretary of the Interior’s Guidelines for Historic Rehabilitation. This can result in real savings at the end of the project.
 
Which successful NKY relocations have you recently been a part of?
The one that comes to mind is Lauren and Gus Wolf. After moving to Covington, Gus took over the Covington Farmers Market and became very involved with urban agriculture initiatives. He is currently keeper of the acclaimed Goebel Goats, and his wife Lauren has a very successful photography studio in Covington.
 
From your perspective, what is the best thing about living in NKY?
Northern Kentucky is overall very affordable. I am from the East Coast and it’s very different in terms of daily expenses and cost of living. In this region, it’s easy access to everything you want to do. Right now it’s affordable to acquire property or get a business going, and there is a lot of local support to stimulate that creative spirit.

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