BY BARB BERGGOETZ
Entrepreneur Jim Hammond has a long-range plan for transforming the 50 acres he purchased just off Ind. 46 east of Nashville for commercial and community use. For now, he’s working on expanding and improving his hotel, Creekside Retreat, the first piece of that development.
The hotel is surrounded by woods and fields and features a conference center and patio large enough to host banquets, weddings, group retreats, and family reunions. When remodeling of the fourth of eight buildings is complete this spring, eight more hotel units will be available, bringing the total to 38.
Hammond grew up in Brown County and owns Bloomington-based Full-O-Pep Appliances, splitting his time between Bloomington and Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. He says his plans for the property include developing additional commercial buildings, including restaurants and community amenities, over the next several years. “I wanted some roots there and to still feel connected to the area.”
Creekside Retreat, located at 2450 E. Ind. 46, currently features three red-brick buildings with 30 one-bedroom kitchenette suites and two-room family suites that have been refurbished with Amish-crafted oak doors and trim. The buildings were constructed in the 1960s as apartments; Hammond began converting them to hotel rooms in 2014. When the renovation is complete, it will have 52 hotel rooms and suites.
“We wanted to create a more upscale property,” says Vickie Blake, general manager. “We get a lot of comments about how peaceful and quiet it is here.”
The 2,400-square-foot indoor conference center has been used by a variety of groups, from Indiana University and Cummins Engine Co. to quilting clubs and churches, says Blake. With the addition of the outdoor patio, the conference space doubles and can handle about 200 people.
In the future, Hammond would like to build three lakes with walking trails and access to adjacent Salt Creek. He’s been trying to do that for several years, but says the Indiana Department of Natural Resources hasn’t as yet let him build the lakes. “We’re continuing to improve it each year,” says Hammond. “We want to let the community use the property.”
For more information, visit creeksideretreat.net.