HAMILTON, Ohio — The Greater Hamilton Chamber of Commerce rolled out the red carpet Thursday night.
More than 900 people were in attendance for a “Play Ball” gala. Those attending were able to see for the first time the inside of the newly renovated Spooky Nook Sports Complex conference center and hotel.
In total, there will be 19 meeting rooms, 28 basketball courts, 46 volleyball courts, a fitness center and a 233-room hotel on property.
Jim Launer, President of Spooky Nook Sports, says the event has been six years in the making.
“I saw this building when there were holes in the walls, holes in the ceiling, water, animals. The building was dilapidated,” Launer added, “To see it full of people, life, and music. To see what it’s become. It’s an incredible feeling.”
Launer stood outside of the facility’s two largest ballrooms. One can seat 800 people. The other around 500. He says only a portion of the property has opened, and there will be more event space opening soon.
Thursday’s event was an chance to showcase the grand opportunity city leaders say will come with the new convention center, hotel, and sports complex.
“From the philharmonic on the first floor, to a cowboy bar with a mechanical bull on the third floor. I think what we wanted to show is not only how large it is, but how great of a space it is, and those spaces can become something completely different,” Dan Bates, President of the Greater Hamilton Chamber of Commerce, told WCPO 9 News.
Bates says Spooky Nook, along with many other major developments in Hamilton, can be considered a ‘game changer’ for the city.
“It’s turning point in Hamilton’s history,” Bates added, “People here tonight are talking about how large the space is. This isn’t even half the space. A lot of it isn’t open. We wanted to show everyone what’s here thus far. The massiveness of this is going to blow people away. Wait until it’s open.”
Launer says he expects the site to see more than 1.5-million people in its first year of operation.
As for an opening date for the sports complex portion of the site, Launer says that’s still in the works.
“We’re working toward a final opening date. Not long. Especially in the grand scheme of how long we’ve been working on the project. We still have some flooring on the sports side. We have some kitchens that need to be finished up. Then it’s really final touches over here in our meeting spaces,” Launer said.