Vacant buildings in Northern Kentucky get new life thanks to $60,000 Duke Energy Foundation grant and Catalytic Fund

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  • 2023 grants include $20,000 each for one site in Ludlow and two in Newport

  • Since 2011, more than 100 grants and $3.3 million have been awarded

CINCINNATI – Duke Energy has teamed up with the Catalytic Fund to distribute Urban Revitalization grants to three Northern Kentucky recipients. The program, which was launched in 2011, has distributed over $3.3 million to more than 100 grantees across Greater Cincinnati. The grants typically provide funding for pre-development costs and serve as catalysts for further economic development in the urban core.

“The Duke Energy Urban Revitalization Program has positively changed the landscape in our region’s urban cores,” said Amy Spiller, president of Duke Energy Ohio and Kentucky. “Bringing into existence the inspired visions of our grant recipients make this program so valuable to Ohio and Kentucky neighborhoods.”

The Catalytic Fund, which guides high impact real estate projects in the Northern Kentucky river cities of Dayton, Bellevue, Newport, Ludlow and Covington, secured the Urban Revitalization Grant funding for the three Northern Kentucky projects.

“We are grateful for our long-standing partnership with Duke Energy to impact the vitality of Northern Kentucky for the last decade. The support the Duke Energy Foundation provides to address the pre-development needs of these critical projects is paramount. We’re excited to continue to bring three more projects to fruition in the region,” Jeanne Schroer, president and CEO, Catalytic Fund.

Grant Recipients

  • 401 Elm – Located at 401 Elm Street in Ludlow, the project will feature the redevelopment of two buildings by Challis and Lauren Hodge, the owners of Taste on Elm gourmet deli and Conserva, a wine and tapas bar. They will renovate the historic two-story corner commercial storefront building to include dining and event rental spaces, while a garage structure to the rear will be outfitted with a full commercial restaurant kitchen.
  • 337 W. 11th – This project will restore a blighted and vacant historic corner commercial building in Newport’s Buena Vista neighborhood back into a contributing community asset. Newport resident and real estate and construction professional Luke Woerner will develop the project. Woerner will renovate the building to restore the original commercial storefront for a new small business and significantly update two residential units.
  • Monmouth Street Mercantile – The project will transform a vacant historic building located at 722-24 Monmouth Street into a vibrant community hub, strengthening Newport’s downtown business district. Owners of The Baker’s Table Bakery and The Baker’s Table restaurant, Dave Willocks and Wendy Braun, will develop, own, and operate the project, which will bring a multifaceted retail business offering lifestyle products, home décor and wellness brands.

There have been a number of high visibility sites that have benefitted from a Duke Energy Foundation Urban Revitalization grant over the last decade. Hotel Covington, Braxton Brewing, Baker’s Table, Warsaw Federal Incline Theater, Kiki’s, Tortilleria Garcia, Regal Theater and Norwood Cider Company to name a few.

To learn more about how the Catalytic Fund and a Duke Energy helped launch the award-winning Baker’s Table in Newport, watch their story here.

Duke Energy Foundation

The Duke Energy Foundation provides philanthropic support to meet the needs of communities where Duke Energy customers live and work. The Foundation contributes more than $30 million annually in charitable gifts and is funded by Duke Energy shareholder dollars. More information about the Foundation can be found at

Duke Energy Ohio and Kentucky

Duke Energy Ohio/Kentucky, a subsidiary of Duke Energy, provides electric service to 900,000 residential, commercial and industrial customers in a 3,000-square-mile service area, and natural gas service to 550,000 customers in a 2,650-square-mile service area, in Ohio and Kentucky.

Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK), a Fortune 150 company headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., is one of America’s largest energy holding companies. Its electric utilities serve 8.2 million customers in North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky, and collectively own 50,000 megawatts of energy capacity. Its natural gas unit serves 1.6 million customers in North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Ohio and Kentucky. The company employs 27,600 people.

Duke Energy is executing an aggressive clean energy transition to achieve its goals of net-zero methane emissions from its natural gas business by 2030 and net-zero carbon emissions from electricity generation by 2050. The company has interim carbon emission targets of at least 50% reduction from electric generation by 2030, 50% for Scope 2 and certain Scope 3 upstream and downstream emissions by 2035, and 80% from electric generation by 2040. In addition, the company is investing in major electric grid enhancements and energy storage, and exploring zero-emission power generation technologies such as hydrogen and advanced nuclear. 

Duke Energy was named to Fortune’s 2023 “World’s Most Admired Companies” list and Forbes’ “World’s Best Employers” list. More information is available at The Duke Energy News Center contains news releases, fact sheets, photos and videos. Duke Energy’s illumination features stories about people, innovations, community topics and environmental issues. Follow Duke Energy on TwitterLinkedInInstagram and Facebook.

Contact: Sally Thelen
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