Newport on the Levee emerging

As part of a $1 billion effort to revitalize the river front region, Newport on the Levee has emerged.

Newport on the Levee is expected to attract five to six million visitors each year, according to the Levee’s Web site. It also states that the Levee is creating 2,300 to 3,700 new jobs.

Phase I of the construction was completed at a cost of $145 million. It consists of 500,000 square feet of restaurants, retail, and entertainment venues. The AMC Theater is among these attractions. It features 20 screens and 4,400 seats in all. The Firstar IMAX Theater is another newcomer. It offers 458 seats. Both theaters offer a student discount with a valid student ID. Shadowbox Cabaret, a dine-in theatre featuring live dance, singing and acting performances offers students a 50 percent discount on tickets.

The Newport Aquarium is considered part of Phase I. The project of building Newport on the Levee began with the Aquarium in May 1999. Within its first two years of operation, the aquarium has brought in over two million guests and $84 million in visitor spending to Campbell County. The Newport Aquarium has been part of a tourism income surge in Northern Kentucky, which resulted in $8.8 billion total in 2000, the levee’s Web site,, stated.

Phase II of the construction entails building the Hilton Garden Inn. It is planned to have 11 stories, 197 rooms, and a building budget of $65 million. The inn will also offer 8,500 square feet of meeting spaces and a 24-hour business center.

All of the currently leased spaces within the levee are open and ready for visitors or will be by the end of 2001, except for the Bamboo Club Restaurant, Brio Tuscan Grille, Claddagh Pub and Gameworks. These will be open by March 2002. When all the tenants of the levee have officially moved in, a combined total of 24 businesses will reside within the realm of Newport on the Levee.

Jamie Lewis, senior social work student at NKU has been working as a hostess at Mitchell’s Fish Market since October 2001. Although the restaurant doesn’t offer student discounts, as do the theaters, it is currently running a gift certificate promotion in which you buy 100 gift certificates and get 25 free. “College students usually come in during the week around lunch time, when prices are cheaper,” said Lewis.

“Mitchell’s has good food and I highly recommend it, but if you plan on coming, make a reservation,” Lewis said. “The wait in line is usually two to three hours without one.”

Two new garages are home to 2,850 parking spaces for Levee visitors. Parking in the levee garage is free for the first hour and then $2 every hour thereafter. Tickets can be validated, but only at the AMC Theater.