Renovation For Chinese House at Conner Prairie

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(Image courtesy of Conner Prairie.) (Image courtesy of Conner Prairie.)
FISHERS -

Plans to invest more than $3 million to turn a historic building at Conner Prairie in Fishers into an events center have been unveiled. The project is a partnership between the nonprofit and Carmel-based Ritz Charles that involves transforming Col. Eli Lilly's Chinese House into The Bluffs at Conner Prairie. Renovations are slated to be complete early next year. The venue will have room for 250 guests for wedding ceremonies and receptions, social galas, corporate events and holiday parties. Construction will also include a new pavilion.

The Chinese House includes views of the White River and was originally built in the early 1900s. Lilly purchased the property in the late-1940s to use as a family retreat. Ritz Charles is providing most of the funding for the renovation and will have exclusive food and beverage operating rights once the work is finished.

Conner Prairie Chief Executive Officer Norman Burns says "the renovated Chinese House will provide guests a great connection to Conner Prairie's past and a gateway to our future. Visitors will get to experience Eli Lilly's former retreat and his love for Chinese culture while having access to nature, views of the White River and a beautifully renovated space for their events. Revenue generated from this partnership and new space will allow Conner Prairie to continue providing unique and innovative experiences for our members and guests for years to come."

The project has also received support from Jay and Nancy Ricker of Anderson-based Ricker Oil Co. Inc., the Lilly Endowment Inc. and other private contributors.

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