THEN: Shock waves reverberated throughout Covington in fall 2016, when the federal government gave a “three-year warning” that it was shutting down the massive IRS data processing facility it had opened in 1967. In its heyday, the facility had employed some 4,000 people, making it the City’s largest employer.


NOW: Today, however, the strongest emotions attached to the site are “excitement” and “anticipation.”


Why? The City now owns the complex. It’s 23 acres large, and it sits just a block south of the Ohio River next to the Northern Kentucky Convention Center.


They call it their “chance to reshape the very identity and economics of the city long into its future.” Outside Covington, one East Coast commercial developer called it one of “the most exciting land redevelopment opportunities between Baltimore and New Orleans.”

STATUS: Working off a conceptual master plan (see below), the City in February 2021 was searching for firms to demolish the complex, take care of environmental challenges there, and design millions of dollars of “horizontal infrastructure” (streets, sidewalks, utilities etc.) to make the site conducive to private developers.


PLANS: City leaders have said the site could support a mix of land uses, including office space, a hotel, apartments and condominiums, a levee park, a public plaza, and the possible expansion of the Convention Center. The conceptual master plan and its supporting information can be seen in the links below.


TIMELINE (as told in news releases):

  • Sept. 14, 2016 – IRS gives three-year notice of facility’s closing, HERE.
  • Nov. 8, 2018 – City hires consultant Cooper Carry to crystallize vision, HERE.
  • Jan. 17, 2019 – Public to have big say, HERE.
  • Jan. 24, 2019 – 200 attend open house to kick off public engagement, HERE.
  • Feb. 22, 2019 – What’s a “civic dinner?” HERE.
  • July 12, 2019 – The 1st look at 3 scenarios for conceptual plan, HERE.
  • Sept. 27, 2019 – Architect who designed IRS “Flat Top” laments closure, HERE.
  • Dec. 17, 2019 – The “final” (conceptual master) plan, HERE.
  • March 12, 2020 – City, GSA settle on price, HERE.
  • April 8, 2020 – How does $1 become $20.5 million? A history, HERE.
  • May 12, 2020 – City authorizes debt for purchase, demolition, HERE.
  • Aug. 3, 2020 – The closing: City gains control of site, HERE.
  • Aug. 5, 2020 – Picture “brings back a thousand memories,” HERE.
  • Dec. 10, 2020 – Funding tool for infrastructure work leaps 1st hurdle, HERE.