Big changes are already happening at Hamilton’s coming mega sports complex

Lots of construction is happening at the site of the Spooky Nook at Champion Mill gigantic indoor sports complex, on both sides of North B Street.

All kinds of earth moving is happening to the west of B Street, and on the east side, crews have been removing bricks that for many years have covered the windows of the former Champion Paper mill.

So much is happening now, Hamilton Council Member Robert Brown said he delights in driving down B Street and seeing what’s happening.

Meanwhile, in another move involving the proposed gigantic indoor sports complex and convention center, Hamilton City Council on Wednesday added some new properties to the jurisdiction of the Hamilton Community Authority. Those new properties included the city government tower at 345 High St., and some land adjoining the former paper mill property.

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Adding the city building will allow the community authority to purchase that property in a move that city officials and their financial adviser compare to a homeowner taking out a second mortgage.

The community authority plans to buy the city tower for about $26 million, and then borrow about that amount to pay off the remaining debt on the building that was dedicated in 2000. The remaining amount will be used to offer financial assistance to the Spooky Nook project that the city promised in October, and also pay for a roundabout at Gilmore Road.

Under the proposed sale arrangement, the city will pay the authority $1.4 million in rent — the same amount it has been spending to pay off the remaining amount it owes for the building. The authority will use those rent payments to pay off the $26 million it will borrow.

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The Spooky Nook project, meanwhile, is in motion. At the building known as Mill 1 — the one west of B Street — “selective demolition continues,” said Spooky Nook spokesperson Mackenzie Bender. In coming weeks, more of the building’s interior walls and parts of roofs will be eliminated.

Demolition equipment is working very selectively and is careful to preserve the paper mill’s exterior walls that face B Street and Rhea Avenue.

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“These walls are being protected to preserve the B Street corridor view that so many people from Hamilton and surrounding areas remember over the years,” she said.

Spooky Nook owner Sam Beiler has said in particular he wants to preserve the iconic “B Street Canyon” created by the paper mill’s walls that face it on both sides that Hamilton residents have driven through for decades.

Meanwhile, on Mill 2 — the building between B Street and the Great Miami River — work “has focused on making the building safe for the workers,” Bender said. “Protective railings have been added throughout the building and covers installed at all appropriate floor openings.”

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At the buildings on both sides of B Street, “bricked-in windows are being reopened throughout Mill 1 and Mill 2, allowing natural light to flow through the buildings again,” she said. “Temporary weather barriers will replace the brick as measurements for window design and replacement are taken.”

Also at Mill 2, construction crews are removing “every single remaining section of pipe, duct, conduit, and bits of equipment, and other items,” Bender said. Structural analysis has started as the project’s design is finalized and architects design the mechanical systems.

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