Security upgrades, building work signal progress on huge Spooky Nook site in Hamilton

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Hamilton City Manager Joshua Smith thanks commissioners for their $2.5 million Spooky Nook investment.

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Increased security and other visible changes are signaling the construction work that has begun at the Champion Paper mill, now being redeveloped into Spooky Nook Sports at Champion Mill.

Security was upgraded after someone in December shot at vehicles from a building there, apparently with a pellet gun. Tom Vanderhorst, Hamilton’s executive director of External Services, said officials had a conference call Wednesday with the developer.

PHOTOS: Construction underway on huge Spooky Nook sports complex in Hamilton

“They said that Mill 2 (the large building between the Great Miami River and North B Street) is all but buttoned-up,” Vanderhorst said. “They went through it, and saw that it’s pretty much completely secured.”

Officials from Spooky Nook, based in Manheim, Pa., are obtaining security cameras that can be integrated with their existing ones at the existing indoor sports complex there, Vanderhorst said.

“I think you’re going to see lighting and camera improvements out there pretty quick,” he added.

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Fencing also is being installed around the sprawling site, and construction is now evident to those walking or driving by.

Work crews have begun reopening large window spaces on the Champion buildings that were bricked over decades ago, a step that not only will return them to their historic beauty but also make it easier for construction workers to see the buildings’ interiors.

Railings are being installed for floor openings inside the mill, or covering them completely, Vanderhorst said. Platforms also have been added to make it easier to get equipment into the buildings.

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Mayor Pat Moeller said there will be “more and more people on that job site.”

“It’s a darker area that’s becoming brighter,” Moeller said. “More people are going to be in that area working, so that will be less and less of a problem.”

Vanderhorst said every restored window opening eventually will be filled “with amazing glass and window frames consistent with the building in its prime.”

But in the meantime, “natural light is once again filtering into the building and providing a better work environment than the dank darkness of the empty building,” he said.

Meanwhile, at Mill 1, the large building west of B Street, structural options are being reviewed on ways to support the large wall that faces B Street that creates what officials call the “B Street Canyon” created by the two mills surrounding the street.

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After Mill 1’s wall has been supported, more demolition of the structure will begin “while protecting the view of the iconic B Street corridor,” Vanderhorst said.

At least two vehicles were shot by a BB- or pellet gun, apparently from the former Champion administration building facing the Black Street Bridge that Spooky Nook, which officials plan to convert into a boutique hotel. After the shootings, an anonymous donor offered a $500 reward for information leading to the arrest of the person.


  • It will a gigantic sports complex and Greater Cincinnati's second-largest convention center.
  • The complex will be on the same scale as the original Spooky Nook complex near Manheim, Pa., which is North America's largest indoor sports complex.
  • Owner Sam Beiler describes as 14 acres under one roof.
  • Construction started in December. It's scheduled to open in mid-2021.

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