OFFICE OF GOVERNOR ANDY BESHEAR
Gov. Beshear: $133.6 Million Margaritaville Resort Coming to Newport on the Levee, Creating 282 Jobs
Resort to bring jobs, lodging and entertainment to Campbell County and Northern Kentucky
FRANKFORT, Ky. (Sept. 20, 2023) – Today, Gov. Andy Beshear highlighted further growth and momentum within Kentucky’s tourism industry as Newport Hotel Associates, a joint venture partnership between North American Properties (NAP), Stormont Hospitality Group and High Street Real Estate Partners, plans to locate a new $133.6 million Margaritaville Hotel Resort at Newport on the Levee in Campbell County. This project is expected to create 282 jobs, 187 full-time and 95 part-time, and provide an economic boost to the region.
“We just celebrated our best year on record for Kentucky tourism in 2022, and with exciting projects like Margaritaville being announced, we know this success will only continue,” said Gov. Beshear. “This resort will help drive visitors to the Campbell County area, boosting the local economy and creating 282 new jobs for Kentuckians. We are grateful to these leaders for choosing Kentucky and our workforce.”
The Margaritaville Hotel Resort, a family-friendly entertainment destination, will be fronting the Ohio River in Newport. The full-service, amenity-rich hotel will feature 264 rooms, a JWB Grill, License to Chill Bar, a 12th-floor pool with an adjacent Five O’Clock Somewhere Bar and Grill overlooking downtown Cincinnati, retail space and more than 10,000 square feet of meeting and event space, including a 2,000-square-foot rooftop offering. Construction is estimated to be complete by fall of 2026.
“Stormont Hospitality Group and North American Properties are thrilled to be working together again on this unique and transformative project. It will bring an unmatched resort-style experience to the area, making it a true game-changer for attracting new convention business and leisure travel to Northern Kentucky and the greater commonwealth,” said Jim Stormont, president of Stormont Hospitality Group. “We are appreciative of both the city of Newport and the commonwealth for providing the leadership and support necessary to bring this vision to reality. We look forward to continuing this partnership as we work to complete this exciting project, which will create significant economic impacts throughout the region for years to come.”
Today, upon the recommendation of the Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet, Newport Hotel Associates received preliminary approval from the Kentucky Tourism Development Finance Authority (KTDFA) for incentives totaling nearly $33.4 million for the project. The project now moves to final approval by the KTDFA.
Through the Tourism Development Act, qualifying tourism development projects can recover up to 25% of approved development costs through the recovery of sales tax generated by the development.
“Kentuckians searching for their lost shakers of salt won’t have to travel far with the opening of the Margaritaville Hotel Resort in Newport,” said Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet Secretary Lindy Casebier. “Travelers from within the state and beyond will undoubtedly flock to this entertainment-filled resort. Our cabinet is proud to support this tourism development project.”
Tourism is a $12.9 billion industry in Kentucky, generating 91,668 jobs across the commonwealth. In Campbell County, tourism supports 1,024 jobs and generated over $179 million in economic impact in 2022, a 9% increase from 2021. This year, the commonwealth has given final approval to eight tourism development projects for an estimated economic investment of $286 million.
Campbell County Judge/Executive Steve Pendery highlighted the collaborative efforts to bring the project to fruition: “The outstanding collaboration between the city of Newport, MeetNKY, Newport Hotel Associates, North American Properties, Campbell County and the Commonwealth of Kentucky has made this momentous project possible, highlighting what can be achieved with a shared vision. This development is not just about generating jobs and boosting tourism; it’s a new chapter for Campbell County that elevates community spirit and opens the door to endless possibilities on our riverfront.”
Newport Mayor Tom Guidugli Jr. welcomed the new tourism development project: “Margaritaville Hotel Resort will enhance our city’s vibrant culture, create jobs and provide unique entertainment opportunities for residents and visitors. We are excited to welcome Margaritaville to our community and are honored to continue Jimmy Buffett’s ever-lasting connection to our region.”
Justin Otto, president of the Campbell County Economic Progress Authority, spoke on the tourist opportunities the new project will bring to the local community: “The arrival of the Margaritaville Hotel Resort marks the beginning of a transformative era for Campbell County, signifying a renaissance in opportunity, employment and lifestyle. This project is set to become the crown jewel of our riverfront, energizing our local economy while showcasing the promise and potential of our beautiful community.”
Julie Kirkpatrick, president and CEO of meetNKY, emphasized how the tourism development project will elevate Northern Kentucky’s tourism experiences: “We are thrilled to welcome this latest addition to the Northern Kentucky tourism community. Newport is an important part of the $1.95 billion industry in the region, and this hotel project will offer new visitors to the area an elevated experience on the Kentucky riverfront.”
Newport Hotel Associates’ tourism investment and planned job creation builds on recent economic momentum in the commonwealth.
Last month, Gov. Beshear reported that General Fund receipts for July 2023 totaled $1.1 billion, marking the 11th straight month with revenues over $1 billion. The Governor also recently announced that his administration secured the largest General Fund budget surplus and Rainy Day Fund, as well as the most jobs filled in state history.
The General Fund budget surplus at the end of fiscal year 2023 was more than $1.55 billion. Nearly all of the $1.55 billion surplus will go into the commonwealth’s Rainy Day Fund, bringing the fund to a record balance of $3.7 billion – a 2,700% increase since Gov. Beshear took office in 2019.
This year, the Governor announced that Kentucky set the record for the longest period with the lowest unemployment rates in state history.
Since the beginning of his administration, Gov. Beshear has announced more than 880 private-sector new-location and expansion projects totaling approximately $27 billion in announced investments. This is the highest investment figure for any governor in state history.
The robust job creation has been accompanied by rising wages across the commonwealth. The average incentivized hourly wage in 2022 was $26.78 before benefits, the second-highest mark since 2010 and an 11.5% increase over the previous year.
The Governor also secured the best two-year period in state history for economic growth and announced the two largest economic development projects in state history. In September 2021, Gov. Beshear and leaders from Ford Motor Co. and SK On celebrated a transformative $5.8 billion investment that will create 5,000 jobs in Hardin County. In April 2022, the Governor was joined by leadership at AESC to announce a $2 billion investment that will create 2,000 jobs in Warren County. These announcements solidify Kentucky as the EV battery production capital of the United States.
That position was strengthened even further in May 2023, when the Governor and leaders at Toyota announced a $591 million investment across multiple projects as the company’s largest manufacturing operation in Georgetown introduced its first battery electric vehicle. Growth within the EV sector continued into June as Gov. Beshear joined INFAC North America to break ground on the company’s $53 million investment to support EV-related production in Campbellsville.
Over a two-month period this year, Kentucky secured two credit rating increases from major agencies. On May 12, Gov. Beshear announced that his administration obtained the first state-level credit rating upgrade in 13 years and the first-ever upgrade from Fitch Ratings. On June 29, Gov. Beshear announced the commonwealth received its first-ever rating increase from S&P Global Ratings.
Site Selection magazine recently placed Kentucky first in the South Central region and top-5 nationally in its 2023 Prosperity Cup ranking, which recognizes state-level economic development agencies for their success in landing capital investment projects. The publication also placed Kentucky second nationwide and first in the South Central region for its annual Governor’s Cup ranking for 2022, which recognizes state-level economic success based on capital investments.
NAP acquired Newport on the Levee in December 2018 and completed a multi-million-dollar redevelopment of the 23-year-old mixed-use destination in May 2021, transforming the underutilized asset into a walkable, connected community. It is now home to an ever-growing collection of experiential offerings unique to Northern Kentucky and plays host to more than 100 annual community-driven events. For more information about Newport on the Levee, visit newportonthelevee.com.
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