Shooters Sports Grill could open in Hamilton in a year, owner says

Construction market making it tough for things to move quickly.

A few hundred people earlier this month were some of the first to be in what will be one of the next Shooters Sports Grill as they attended during the State of the City.

But it will be a while before they can have Pole Bender Fish Sandwich or a Cincy-Philly Cheesesteak.

“We have the basic drawing for the layout in hand. They are working on the electrical and plumbing drawings as well as the kitchen layout,” said Todd Helton, owner of the former Danbarry Theater on NW Washington Boulevard. “It’s just a process.”

Once Helton and his team have all the architectural and engineering drawings, they’ll be able to go out for bids. After bids come in, they can lock in the financing and go for the permits. And the ETA on opening, Helton said, “A year.”

But based on how the construction market has been lately, that could be the soonest it could open, Helton said.

“I can tell you everything so far has taken longer,” he said. “It’s taken me six months just to get the basic drawings.”

That’s because architectural and engineering firms are busy.

“We talked with three different firms, and all of them are busy,” said Helton, who went with Hamilton’s Community Design Alliance. “You just kinda got to get in line.”

ExploreSpooky Nook Sports Champion Mill: A Guide

Shooters Sports Grill will be one of three businesses in the former Danbarry Theater, but all Helton can say at this time is the type of businesses he wants in those spaces. He’s been in conversations to bring a steakhouse to the site and make the back side of the 27,000-square-foot building a wedding and live music venue.

“I think we really put a trifecta in terms of what we’ve got going on in there,” he said.

There are some Hamiltonians who’ve only known this building to be a vacant movie theater, said Hamilton Economic Development Director Jody Gunderson. AMC closed the 10-screen theater in November 2010.

“The fact that this massive building is being brought back to life with a full-service restaurant is a perfect example of the creative adaptive reuse mindset we have here in Hamilton,” he said. “It’s proof that investment really is happening in every corner of the city. We can’t wait to see the building with the lights back on, the parking lot full, and lots of happy customers.”

Helton was born and raised in Hamilton, and though he lives in nearby Ross Twp., he’s always wanted to make this kind of investment in his hometown. And as the city and others are investing millions of dollars into the city, Helton said this project “just seems like a good fit.”

Helton, a real estate agent with Re/Max said he’s always been an investor in, and owned, properties, but this was the first one he’s had a hands-on role. He believes the Spooky Nook Sports Champion Mill redevelopment project “will complement us,” but said, “I think we set up a plan that will be successful regardless of Spooky Nook generating business for us or not.”

Spooky Nook Sports Champion Mill, a $165 million redevelopment project of a former paper mill, has opened its convention center and hotel spaces, and plans to open its sports and events venue in November.

“It really makes good use of the space that we have,” he said of his plans at the former theater. “I think once we get up and running, and change the look of the building, and it’s no longer an old movie theater but an actual venue, I think it’s going to do well, really well.”

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