Back to Recent News

$10 Million Project Involves Major Updates to Century-old Hotels

10/4/2018 | Recent News

National Church Residences celebrates the $10 million restoration of two historic hotels dotting the scenic Ohio River in downtown Portsmouth, Ohio. These buildings have served as anchors in the historic Boneyfiddle Commercial District for more than a century. Biggs House and Washington House were once grand hotels serving as popular stops for passengers traveling on the river. Now, the former hotels are home to 106 affordable housing units under the name Riverview Retirement Center.

On Wednesday, National Church Residences hosted a ribbon cutting celebration on the Riverview campus that included a ceremony and speakers, such as, Joe Uecker, a member of the Ohio Senate, representing the 14th District, as well as Jamie Barker of U.S. Senator Rob Portman’s office, in addition to Sean Dunne, First Ward representative on the Portsmouth City Council and officials from National Church Residences.

“We’ll always be grateful to the Southern Ohio Medical Center for their vision to build sustainable affordable housing to serve this region,” said Mark Ricketts, president and CEO of National Church Residences. “Their efforts and our partnership today, allow us both to continue this mission and expand our services to more seniors in Scioto County.”

In 1978-79, the hotels were converted into high quality, affordable apartments. SOMC owned and operated the property for 35 years. National Church Residences purchased the Riverview Retirement Center in 2013 from the SOMC and began addressing the long term capital needs of the property. The restoration project updated the aging structures to meet current building standards while preserving their historic status.

The extensive renovations provided updates to all of the apartments and common areas, including mechanical systems throughout both buildings and the meticulous, two-year preservation of the beautiful floor to ceiling windows. All of the units at Riverview received new appliances, cabinets, flooring, and windows, as well as new fixtures for plumbing and lighting.   

We want to thank all of the financial partners that made this project possible: the Ohio Housing Finance Agency, the National Affordable Housing Trust, Key Bank, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the Federal Home Loan Bank of Cincinnati.

We also want to thank the National Park Service for their guidance on this project as both buildings were carefully restored to meet historic standards that qualify them for placement on the National Register of Historic Places. The Boneyfiddle district was added to the National Registry in 1979. 

Today, the Biggs House and Washington House are joined by a magnificently landscaped courtyard with a beautiful backdrop of the renowned floodwall murals depicting the history of the region. Biggs House, originally constructed in 1836, was destroyed by fire in 1871 and was immediately rebuilt. The Washington House, built in 1900, also experienced troubled times when it survived the floods of 1913 and 1937. Both buildings exhibit grand architectural styles with unique characteristics.

About National Church Residences

National Church Residences serves more than 42,000 seniors through its array of housing and health care services. The not-for-profit organization is driven by a vision of advancing better living for all seniors, enabling them to remain home for life. With 310 communities in 25 states and Puerto Rico, it is the nation’s largest not-for-profit provider of affordable senior housing and the largest manager of service coordinators. It also offers residential senior communities, home and community-based services, and permanent supportive housing for the formerly homeless and disabled. For more information, visit