Former Cameo Night Club to be transformed into boat shop, brewery

CINCINNATI -- An East End community member says the redevelopment of a vacant building will turn a “tragedy into a triumph.”  

Developers are looking to transform the building that housed Cameo Night Club into a boat shop, restaurant and brewery. The Antique Boat Center also moved into the space from Evendale.

Cameo has been vacant since March, when gunfire killed two people and injured 15 others in the country’s largest mass shooting at the time. Jay Rodgers, the owner of Cameo, closed the nightclub permanently on March 31.

Patrick Ormond, president of the East End Community Council, said he’s glad the space will have a new purpose.

“The worst thing a neighborhood can have is vacant buildings,” he said.

Workers are clearing the interior of the former nightclub -- tables, chairs, speakers and lights will be removed. Plans call for a small brewery to be opened in the area.

A restaurant tentatively called Castaways is slated for one section. The bar, an outdoor gazebo, a swimming pool and a deck will all be restored.

The space will be open to the public and the 800 boat owners and families and Rivertowne Marina.  

“That helps everybody — helps with jobs, helps with economic development and it makes the area more vital even though some of it is in a floodplain,” Ormond said.

The marina plans to turn the area into a campground.

“When you start to have an ingenious concept … it adds to what has become almost the eastern entertainment district in Cincinnati,” Ormond said.

The owners hope the space will be complete by May of 2018 so they can host their annual Kentucky Derby party.

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