By Cindy Schroeder
The Cincinnati Enquirer
COVINGTON - Former Bellevue City Administrator Andy Riffe, who helped lay the groundwork for much of that city's riverfront development, is Covington's new assistant city manager.
Covington City Commission unanimously approved the appointment Tuesday night.
Riffe, 40, succeeds Tom Steidel, who left in December to become city manager of Lawrenceburg, Ind.
Covington City Manager Greg Jarvis and Mayor Butch Callery said Riffe's extensive experience in the public and private sectors set him apart from the dozens of applicants for the job.
"We're getting the best of both worlds," Callery said. "I think he can really assist us in these trying times economically."
Riffe described his new position as "the right time and the right opportunity."
"I see myself getting back to where I belong, to what I do best," Riffe said.
While working as vice president of operations for Liquor Outlet Inc. from 1995 to 1998, Riffe oversaw the $15 million transformation of the vacant Bavarian Brewing building off Interstate 75 in Covington into the Jillian's entertainment complex.
In Bellevue, where Riffe was city administrator from 1991 to 1995, he helped bring the $12 million Bellevue Medical Arts building with its 300 jobs to that city. He also helped develop a comprehensive zoning and development plan and oversaw the complicated land acquisition negotiations to bring the Party Source to Bellevue.
As Newport's assistant city manager, Riffe helped bring Heinz' pet food division to that river city, Jarvis said. He also successfully lobbied state officials for legislation creating the Northern Kentucky Sanitation District.
Besides Riffe's experience in areas such as economic development, historic preservation, and planning and zoning, Jarvis cited Riffe's character. In 1993, Riffe was named City Manager of the Year in both Northern Kentucky and Greater Cincinnati.
Callery said Riffe will be instrumental in efforts to develop Riverfront West, a multimillion-dollar retail, office and residential development envisioned for Covington's last big stretch of undeveloped Ohio River frontage. Last month, three developers submitted their qualifications for developing the 15-acre site. City staff may recommend a developer to the city commission next month.
Riffe worked as area facilities manager for Target Corp. in Cincinnati from 1998 to 2001 where he led a management team covering 80 stores in nine states. His latest job was serving as vice president of operations at Cincinnati's Phillips Edison & Co., a privately held, multistate owner and operator of shopping centers.
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