Bank investments bring Catalytic Fund capital to more than $20 million

The investment capital of The Catalytic Fund has increased to $21 million with the commitments of two community banks to become investors in the not-for-profit economic development company.

The Catalytic Fund is a private sector, not-for-profit company that jump-starts development in Northern Kentucky by providing financing assistance and technical expertise for residential and commercial real estate projects that have the potential to spark further development in the region’s urban cities.

The revitalization projects the fund has had a hand in include the transformation of an early 20th century multi-story department store building into the Hotel Covington, and the redevelopment of a sprawling, decaying warehouse in Bellevue into loft-style apartments.

The Fund’s capital has now more than doubled beyond the original $10 million that launched the Fund in 2013.

Heritage Bank, based in Burlington, committed $1 million. The bank was the primary lender for several Catalytic Fund projects, most notably the Bradford on Scott, a transformational, adaptive re-use of a long-neglected, historic building in downtown Covington. With its development partner, the Catalytic Fund stabilized the structure, then converted the building to a mixed-use property with five condominium units and five commercial spaces.

“The Catalytic Fund’s work aligns with our mission and priorities,” says Lee Scheben, president of Heritage Bank.

Heartland Bank has joined the Catalytic Fund with an investment commitment of $2 million. Headquartered in Whitehall in Central Ohio, Heartland has recently increased its presence in the Northern Kentucky and Greater Cincinnati area.

“We hope our investment and involvement will help Northern Kentucky residents and the community as well,” says G. Scott McComb, chairman and CEO of Heartland Bank.

Since 2013, the Catalytic Fund has supported more than 50 real estate developments. The Fund prioritizes projects that promise a noticeable impact on their neighborhoods, with an emphasis on creating diverse housing options, preserving historic assets, and converting vacant sites and buildings to productive uses.

Some of its more high-profile projects have been the Hotel Covington, the conversion of the old Coppins department store building into a 116-room upscale boutique hotel and restaurant that has sparked adjacent investments, and the Kent Lofts project in Bellevue, an adaptive re-use of a historic manufacturing building into 66 loft style, market-rate apartments.

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Read more articles by David Holthaus.

David Holthaus is the managing editor of NKY Thrives, an award-winning journalist, and a Cincinnati native. When not writing or editing, he's likely to be bicycling, hiking, reading or watching classic movies.