When the Covington Business Council hosts our regular Hard Hat tours it’s usually a “forward-thinking” exercise. In other words we wait with anticipation for the business that will occupy the space. But with the rich historic nature of our architecture it’s sometimes fun and interesting to look at how buildings have been used in their 100 years of existence.
Our May Hard Hat tour was at the Whitney Building on 11 E. Fifth Street just east of Madison across from the upscale bar, The Globe. Owners ECCE Properties did their homework on the Whitney’s history. Quinn McMurtry of ECCE says it started as a plumbing shop in the 1880s and later became a land title company.
The building began a road to decline in the 1930s and 40s when it became a series of bars. Through that time it also suffered from a fire and foreclosure. As late as 2010, it hosted the infamous Bottoms Up Lounge. About five years ago it was slated to host an upscale chocolate manufacturing business, but that plan fell through.
Quinn and his brother and father estimate they have invested $500,000 into the property. They hope to attract a professional services firm on the ground floor and have two apartments on the top floor. ECCE Properties is to be applauded for fixing up what has been a long-time eyesore in the Central Business District.