Spooky Nook Sports Champion Mill construction February 2020

Hamilton finance group sells $9.5M in Spooky Nook parking bonds

The money will allow the improvements to areas where 2,700 parking spaces, none of them parking garages, will be for Spooky Nook, which is to be North America’s largest indoor sports training and competition complex.

The Hamilton Community Authority was trying to sell about $36 million in tax-increment financing (TIF) bonds — the most difficult part of financing for the $144 million sports complex and convention center, which will include two hotels.

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One of the investors, which agreed to buy those bonds with certain conditions, toured Hamilton’s former Champion Paper mill a few weeks ago and heard a presentation from City Manager Joshua Smith and Spooky Nook founder Sam Beiler before asking if there was anything else they could invest in.

The authority last year decided to put off the parking bond sale until this fall or next spring, when the money for parking improvements will be needed, said Greg Daniels, the Columbus attorney who represents the community authority.

“But the same investor who was looking to buy the TIF bonds really wants to buy these bonds too, and they have offered … at 6-percent-or-below rates, to enter into what’s called a forward-purchasing agreement, and we thought it was a good idea to get them locked up now,” Daniels said.

The parking bonds will not be sold and start accruing interest until they are needed.

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“They were really impressed” with what they saw and heard, Hamilton’s financial adviser, Andy Brossart, said of the unnamed Dallas-based development investment group. “Right away, they said, ‘We’d like to talk about the parking bonds.’”

The parking areas will be managed by the authority.

“We’re happy,” Daniels said. “We got a better rate than we thought we were going to get.”

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